Opinion The Tattoo

Nature buff, mall rates spar

Children walking on a path at Indian Rock Nature Center in Bristol, Connecticut. (YJI)

BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. –There are two kinds of people in this world — those who love nature and those who detest it.

Here we have a conversation between members of the two camps:

Brian: “What a sunny day! It’s warm. It’s sunny. And it’s a perfect day to get out into the woods and do some hiking or camping or whatever! This is the best day in awhile to get out in nature.”

Danielle: “What a gross day! It’s scorching. I’m sweating.”

Amanda: “Why would anyone go outside? I would much rather be in a nice, climate-controlled environment. Bugs don’t live indoors, generally.”

Brian: “Of course they live indoors. They’ve been around for millions of years and they don’t car where we are. But that’s not the point. Two words: bug repellent. It repels bugs and everything. What are the chances, huh?”

“And the heat isn’t really a problem either. You could always experience the simple beauty of the outdoors on a cooler day.”

Danielle: “But even if I’m outdoors on a cold day, there is still dirt and furry animals I can’t identify. And I would rather eat barbed wire than hike.”

Amanda: “I know! Who invented this hiking thing? We have paved walkways. Why get sand and rocks in your shoes? Let’s go climb a mountain, break our ankles, and die of heat stroke.”

Danielle: “And then you get to say, while you’re huffing and puffing, ‘Wow! I’m at the top of  big boulder! And damn do my feet hurt!’ Let’s face it, the best thing about hiking is the trail mix.”

Brian: “Let’s start at the beginning. Dirt. Dirt is everywhere. Even if you stay inside, you’ll have dust. Dust is the irrepressible spawn of dirt.”

Danielle: “Ohhhhh!!! It’s not like dust stains my clothes and has worms crawling around in it!”

Brian: “I’m not asking you to crawl around in the dirt. I’m saying you should try walking ON it. And if you ever get dirt or rocks in your shoes, try taking the dirt OUT of your shoes.”

“Speaking of which, if your feet hurt, try better hiking boots. And hiking becomes more enjoyable and rewarding after a few tries.”

“Besides, furry animals are ‘bad?’ You would rather eat barbed wire than hike? Not only you losing out on the outdoors, but I think you’re clinically insane.”

Danielle: “Yes, furry animals are bad if they spray foul-smelling liquid at me.”

Amanda: “Besides, if we want to see furry animals, we can go to a zoo with nice cement sidewalks, where the animals and their stinky selves are behind glass and bars and the trees are in well-groomed little areas.”

Danielle: “If you really want fresh air, open a window!”

Brian: “Come on, you’re making me out to be some New Age-y, tree-hugging freak.”

“Let’s face it, sometimes animals do stink. But the point is not to see animals. The allure of the outdoors is the escape from all the noise and tension of the city and all of your normal stresses.”

“And regarding air conditioning, I’m not saying you should do this in 90-degree heat. It’s a comfortable day. Why not go outside and do something besides amusing yourself in a cramped city?”

Danielle: “What it all boils down to is that you like nature. We liked controlled, sterile environments. We will just to agree to disagree.”

Amanda, to Brian: “You fresh air freak!”

Brian LaRue, Amanda Lehmert and Danielle Ouimet are Reporters for Youth Journalism International.

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