“It is a scientific fact that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes of an impressive character, particularly if this contemplation occurs in connection with relief from ordinary cares, change of air and change of habits, is favorable to the health and vigor of men and especially to the health and vigor of their intellect beyond any other conditions which can be offered them, that it not only gives pleasure for the time being but increases the subsequent capacity for happiness and the means of securing happiness.” Fredrick Law Olmsted in 1865 – on this day. Thank you to Garrison Keillor and his series, “The Writers’ Almanac.”
When I was growing up in the 50’s (last century!) we thought that today we would be speeding about in magnetic cars – solo – and our food would be in pill form. What we thought the rest of the world would look like never entered my mind. Science was the answer, the Truth and the fiction.
Today the sun is shining where I am, on the list of summer “to do’s” is: 1) hiking, 2) canoeing, 3) rafting, 4) walk with dogs, 5) swim – you get the picture. It’s all meant to be a group of us, none of it “solo.” No mention of pills on the picnic list either.
Sometimes when we plan ahead, we loose sight of what is here, how enduring and important it is. Most of commerce today is based around our human needs of eating, shelter, transport, clothing. The stuff of life is sweet – how we touch each other, the softness of an animal or an old shirt, the turning of a page. Our senses endure, and demand to be fulfilled – more commerce there.
Today I thank all those who take pleasure in what they’re doing, they’re giving back to nature, for nature loves appreciation.
And I do too. The thing I was most excited about in 1953 was the coming of the Corvette! I used to ride through our small town in the mid-west with a guy friend. The local police followed us all over, supposedly to make sure he wasn’t speeding, but I think they just loved it too. The Corvette was a thing of joy and beauty, a modern wonder you could drive anywhere – even to take a hike!
My friend Mark’s was yellow and his mother said he said “motor” before he said “mother.”