Back to Nature (Published on - Oct. 12, 2006)
Just around the bend
Photo by Karen Mitchell Tremmel
Explore the unknown. Walk the less trodden path.
Possibilities are always “just around the bend.”

That dream house, the perfect job, the gleaming new car, the big sale, the next game won, the high score, the greener grass, winner takes all, live for the future.

Television reflects today’s doctrines for living. Life is a gamble … know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Game shows have abounded for years, but recently a new kind of show has taken precedence.

Competition shows nakedly expose the talents of individuals, couples and teams; white knuckled, tear stained cheeks while waiting with trembling shoulders for the judges’ final decisions.

Contestants compete against one another for the ultimate prize, the dream vacation, the music contract, the bulging bank account, the prized date, partner, husband, trophy or fame. Normal every day citizens bare all in front of live court cameras to strangers all across North America for one fleeting moment of notoriety, fame or brief second in the limelight.

Television programming has become the barometer of Western culture and society. Furthermore, statistics reveal that the average TV viewer accepts that what they see on the screen is an accurate portrayal of “real life.”

Americans spend more time watching TV than being with friends or socializing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reports that in 2005: “Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (2.6 hours per day), accounting for about half of leisure time on average, for both men and women. By contrast, the next most common leisure activity, socializing: such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events: accounted for only about three-quarters of an hour per day for both men and women.”

If you figure on average we spend eight hours sleeping, seven-and-a-half hours working, an hour-and-a-half getting to and from work, and over two hours watching TV, we’re only left with just over four hours to eat, take potty breaks and somewhere in that time do housework. Those 2.6 hours watching TV are prime time hours. It’s no wonder then that unless that average citizen is sitting in the Laz-Z-Boy watching nature shows all evening that it’s a pretty good bet they have triaged the environment pretty low on their list of priorities. What do tigers, rain forests, whooping cranes, black bears, panthers, elephants, turtles, wolves, whales or orchids have to do with winning trophies and notoriety?

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

What’s around the next bend? Explore the unknown. Walk the less trodden path, investigate new horizons, take chances, but gamble on life not with it. Life can be tearful, fearful and unexpected, but within the next moment life can offer breathtaking possibilities.

Beauty is just around the next bend. Turn off the TV. Step outside – explore. In the words of country song writer Gary Allen: “Life ain’t always beautiful, But I know I’ll be fine, Hey, life ain’t always beautiful, But it’s a beautiful ride ... What a beautiful ride.”

It’s not about the destination … it’s the journey and how we get there … back to nature.

Karen can be reached at

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