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Back to the land

Notes from the North Woods

As families gather together to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the occasion provides a most appropriate opportunity to take stock of the past.

There is no doubt that Americans are adventurers, our ancestors, who ventured across the oceans to settle these, once wild lands, have imbibed us with this spirit.

It is difficult to imagine the extent of their journey, especially in this current ‘instant era,’ where needs can be satisfied or goods are available, “on credit, toll free, 24/7, with free shipping.”

Our current patterns of existence have become so comfortable and so convenient that it is impossible to imagine the difficulties our ancestors encountered, when they first disembarked in Plymouth, on a cold November morning in 1620.

The land was much rougher at the time, and the times were much tougher. Accordingly, the people were appropriately seasoned to such hardships, and they learned how to coexist with nature, and how to utilize the bounty it provides.

They couldn't receive weather updates over the television, or text a message home on some, miniature handheld contraption.

Instead, they understood natural patterns, and they learned how to live off the land. It was not an instant accomplishment, and the effort continues to be part of an ongoing process.

By comparison, modern day society has become soft, and relatively clueless to nature's signals. It is not surprising, for as much as we appreciate nature, we also strive for comfort. We may want to rough it, but we prefer to rough it easy.

Unfortunately, this comfort loving train of thought has been embraced by the younger generation, whose spirit of adventure is now largely satisfied by the click of a button on a search engine.

The trials and tribulations of travel have largely been removed, as modern day society has largely pasteurized our spirit of adventure, and homogenized the nature of our travels.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net

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