“Can't nothing bother me when I got my hands in the dirt, he said. Like I'm talking to God with my fingers.” -Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing
there’s this disruption going on, where people of color want other people of color to experience “the outdoors.” and the brands are getting involved — maybe because people in-house deeply care, maybe because they realize buying power and changing country demographics and they don’t want to be left behind — and then there are all the self-identified “outdoorsy” folks who are worried about what it means for “new” people to be getting outside into the places they love. and then there’s instagram and social media, and shots out of tents onto mountains and shots of camp coffee mugs with faded nostalgic filters.
let’s talk about playing outside. and growing food. and digging in dirt. let’s talk about living off the land, running to freedom through its forests and deserts, and about ancestral homelands. if this is included in the definition of the outdoors, than the “outdoorsy folks” actually become the newbies. so what the disruption is, is actually a reconnection. reconnecting peoples and communities with the dirt, but now using a language previously foreign to those from the reconnecting communities. because it’s hiking now instead of walking and it apparently requires special boots.
so. I have never said this before, but it seems appropriate:
check your privilege.
think about your early introductions to the activities you love, your favorite secret special places, the ways that you like to spend time outside and then see if you really want to stop other people from similar experiences.
and then, think about this world of fearmongering that we live in. and see if it is really affecting you and these places you love. most of the time i find that once i’m a mile or two out, there aren’t that many people trying to go where i’m going anyway.
but even if they are:
the outdoors is for everyone.
are you trying to put up walls?
or are you going to be the person who offers an invitation like the one you got?