Technology is a wonderful thing. Technological advances have given us things like the Da Vinci robotic operating system, capable of precision no mortal can approach when performing delicate surgeries. Technology has enabled me to sit at lakeside and write something to entertain, hopefully, a few folks with the musings of a “trained observer”, although Sharon would have you believe I am a selective observer. Back in the day, a question about something necessitated a trip to the encyclopedia for perhaps years old information on some benign topic of passing interest. Today, a minute at a keyboard will uncover the latest information. We read, game and earn livings with a keyboard as the center of our activity. Information has never been more readily available. All good stuff, but we cannot let it replace wind and water.
Missouri is a wonderfully diverse state, offering a virtual smorgasbord of outdoor activity to those who can tear away from the keyboard and enjoy our treasures. We are the stewards of beautiful float streams, terrific fishing, gorgeous lakes and deep woods. While I marvel at the ability of a 12 year old to extract information from a computer, I am far more impressed with the wisdom necessary to “read” a river or lake, launch a canoe or quietly still hunt for the makings of squirrel and gravy. The ability to safely handle a firearm or gently toss a critter bait under a low hanging limb will bring a smile to my face. I have come to appreciate the wind in ways I never really understood beyond it’s ability to test my patience in managing a trolling motor and not spook the fish I am after. My latest adventure, flying, has really sharpened this awareness.
We are surrounded by unlimited reserves of wind and water and I am concerned that our young people are becoming immersed in technology to the extent they have no real appreciation for these reserves of nature. Shame on us if we let this happen. Our children and grandchildren must be taught that technology is meant to manage and protect the elements that surround us and provide a means for us to enjoy the great outdoors. I will trade the beauty of a towering bluff on the Big Piney river any day for the soft glow of a plastic cased computer screen. It is important that we teach them to fish, hunt and shoot with precision. It is important they know how to push a canoe off and negotiate a riffle on a river. They need to understand how to fish and, most importantly, how to dress a mess of fish. A query in a junior high classroom would reveal that very few, if any, would know anything about planting a garden, skinning a squirrel, or the difference between a two or four stroke engine. They likely wouldn’t understand anything about a firearm beyond the fierce criticism of guns in general that is so prevalent today. Sadly, many wouldn’t know the difference between a wild plum tree and a Christmas tree……..
My thoughts today were prompted by watching a parent “teaching” a child to fish on the dock below our condo………holding a spinning rod upside down and becoming impatient with the child’s inability to use it successfully……..maybe the kid will google it….and teach the parent.
Wind and water……there is much to know and appreciate.