Today’s the day people refer to as “black Friday” or some recreational outfitters suggest is a day better spent outside instead of shopping inside a mall or big box retail store. In their hearts I think the #optoutside folks want us to go out and get some exercise, fresh air and enjoy the our natural surroundings instead of participating in the consumer arts and acquisition and/or giving of more things.

What does optoutside really imply though? For some it’s going to a city park and spending the day in the sunshine. Some adventure seekers look for a getaway from city life to go hiking or numerous other physically demanding activities. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of physical activity, getting out in nature carries with it some sense of responsibility and respect. The natural world doesn’t have a cleaning service. Our behavior directly affects the health of wildlife and habitat. If you don’t care or refuse to bear the burden of that responsibility, perhaps the mall is for you.

Yesterday we went for an afternoon walk at a wildlife preserve and nature center not far from where we live. We didn’t even have to leave the city. On our walk came upon rabbits, a wild turkey, a beaver swimming with a branch in it’s mouth, a great horned owl perched in tree, a coyote hunting in the tall grasses and reeds, and a group of people who chose to ignore the nature center rules and were cutting through the grazing and hunting areas for the significant variety of animals that call the nature center home.

If you decide to #optoutside be careful to #leavenotrace as well.

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