The Bear Necessities

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.” – Frank Herbert, Dune

A wise old owl

Wise old owl

A few months ago on a camping trip in Florida, I almost got mauled by a bear.

Ok, I’m only 80% sure it was a bear.

Ok, I never actually saw the bear, but I heard it.

When a deep growl woke me up at 4am, my mind was immediately gripped with fear.

I was paralyzed with fear for at least two hours, though snuggled between my peacefully sleeping husband and son in our tent, silently cursing when either of them stirred or snored.

When I finally sensed the first of the morning light, I felt at peace enough to steal another hour of sleep.

And when we emerged from our cocoon, I expected to see tracks or strewn trash from the wild animals I heard ransacking our little camping village.

But there was no *hint* of disarray, no paw prints, no evidence at all.

Regardless, a panic-stricken impression of Nature followed me around like a dark cloud for the next several days.

Until one day I found myself thinking that maybe spending more time in Nature wasn’t such a great idea after all.

Wait, what??

This from granola-crunching, plastic-hating, mountain-ogling, water-worshipping, rockclimbing, literally tree-hugging Sharon’s free-ass motherfucker mind?

It’s when I had this thought that I knew I had gone off the rails.

Nothing and Nature will ever be without risk.

Spending less time in Nature is the opposite of what I intended when I:

  • set out to create a business that would make me–and everyone else–more connected to the natural world
  • make a concerted effort to handle, prepare, and eat more fresh food throughout the day
  • decided that the ultimate adventure lifestyle is a major #lifegoal

And where there is adventure, there is probably more than a little danger.

The shiny, safe illusion of Nature being only rainbows in raindrops is complete fiction.

Dew drops

Dew drop into the outdoors

Nature is as messy, unpredictable, and uncomfortable as it is beautiful and inspiring. It is just as destructive as it is productive. I know this because I lost two potted plants just this past week to my son’s fully engaged toddler rage. Heh.

It happens.

But you don’t have to risk going vis-á-vis with a bear to appreciate the good stuff.

Sometimes all you need is the urge to step out of the office for deep breaths of fresh air without sucking on a cigarette, a mindful walk by a babbling brook without a mobile phone, or a glass of something green instead of booze to reconnect.

Sometimes only immersion in the outdoors will do. But for every other day, get it in where it fits in–in a glass, on a screen, in a memory or poem. Put some wilderness into your life daily and savor it like fresh plants in a bottle*.

It’s important because you’re part of it. You know?


*I put fresh plants into bottles! Check it out.