In a recent issue, we read words of wisdom from a few of our senior outdoor writers. This issue, we are blessed to have words of wisdom from our wise women of the great outdoors.
Enjoy their thoughts and savor the nuggets of wisdom from these authors you read regularly, right here in Outdoor Guide Magazine.
WHAT IS WISDOM?
Wisdom is where knowledge and skill meet practice, experience and judgment, where you choose what to do or not do to skew the odds in your favor.
Wisdom enables an outdoor person to choose between diverging roads in a wood – to read the subtle differences in the track forward, the surface disturbance, the height of the weeds, the gooeyness of the mud, the depth of brown water in a pothole before driving forward.
Wisdom tells you when to set the hook and when to fire the gun for the best shot. It rises from the muscles and the bones, an action on the other side of thought. It is the key ingredient in turning hair silver or telling it when to fall out. Rarely does anyone with a full head of hair attain wisdom. A person can plant wisdom’s seeds, but it only grows silently in the dark soil of the soul.
Wisdom is what keeps you pounding on the non-descript rind of a geode, hoping it will collapse into a fistful of crystals. And then, when you sense the rock may be solid, to cut your losses and stop.
Jo Schaper is a caver, geologist and longtime Outdoor Guide contributor.
JEANNIE FARMER: I AM BLESSED
I am blessed for my femininity and my family, and the many lessons they gave me as life guidelines.
My parents raised me with good moral values and taught me strong Christian beliefs. My mother taught me about being a lady and reminded me often that beauty is on the inside. My father’s good advice taught that money doesn’t grow on trees, hard work always pays off, and there’s no hill for a climber.
I am blessed for my brother and three lovely sisters by their ongoing love and support, for the gift of giving birth to my three children, now all adults, and for two wonderful granddaughters who are lovely young women.
Most of all, I am blessed for the loving man in my life, and the beauty and gift of my femininity.
Jeannie Farmer writes the Jeannie’s Journey column in each Outdoor Guide.
A PLACE IN NATURE
My early years were spent on a cotton farm near the Texas-Oklahoma border. I was also a tomboy who preferred being with my three brothers rather than with my six sisters.
With this many kids in the family, we played outdoors and tended to our chores outside. I came to love the smell of freshly plowed dirt when Daddy got the fields ready to plant. I loved the air when the first cold wind blew in just before Christmas. I loved the feel of being in the woods when I tagged along with the boys, hunting squirrels. I loved shedding my shoes and jumping in a bar ditch after a big rain to make loblollies.
What did I learn from the freshly plowed field, from the north wind blowing in the Christmas season, from the anticipation of getting a couple of fat squirrels for supper or from my mud-coated legs each spring?
I learned that I was an important part of nature. Whether I was fishing in the irrigation ditch, hunting in the squirrel woods, marveling at the mature cotton stalks that looked like a white blanket of snow spread over the fields or just playing hide and seek with my brothers, I had no doubt there was a place in nature for me.
Growing older and looking back, I thank my lucky stars for being raised in the outdoors. If I could advise parents, I would say you owe your children the blessing of being a nature child – those who are ready for any adventure that comes along, prepared to handle emergencies of all kinds, trained to take care of themselves and be aware of all things, from a tiny ant to a flower blossom or to a magnificent buck deer.
Early on, put your children in nature and tell them, as the song goes, “The best things in life are free.”
Kay Hively writes features of all kinds for the Outdoor Guide.
BARBARA GIBBS OSTMANN:
NEVER STOP MOVING
“Don’t use yellow snow for making snow ice cream.” This old saw sprang to mind when I was asked for “words of wisdom” about the outdoors. But sensing that the editor had something more serious in mind, I gave the question some thought.
My conclusion was that my goal for good health coincides with my goal for the outdoors: Keep moving!
As someone looking at the Big 7-0 in a few short months, I value the time spent in the great outdoors more and more. In order to be able to keep enjoying the outdoors, I have to keep this old body in decent working order. The best way to do that is to keep moving!
It also is a good idea to teach this old dog some new tricks along the way. At the tender age of 67, I endured a brutal, three-day American Canoe Association training session, filled mostly with 30-somethings, to become a Certified Kayak Instructor.
Now I proudly volunteer as often as I can for kayak skills clinics with the National Park Service in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR). My secret goal in life is to become a seasonal Park Ranger at the ONSR. I’m working on that, too.
My most useful attribute at these clinics, and in other activities, is to show folks that age is only a state of mind. I’ve had both knees replaced, plus one hip and one shoulder. Thanks to these wonders of modern medicine, I was able to get my life back after each surgery and continue with my favorite activities – swimming, paddling a canoe or kayak, hiking, fishing, camping. Anything outdoors.
The secret is to have a goal to encourage you to get moving and keep moving. For example, after my hip replacement, my goal was to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain – and I did it! To celebrate my upcoming 70th, I’m shooting for a hiking tour of Mont Blanc in southern France. Somewhere along the way, while I am still able and coherent, I want to do as Jimmy Carter’s mother, Miss Lillian, did – to serve in the Peace Corps in India or Africa.
My other words of wisdom would be to follow the Girl Scout motto and “Be Prepared.” Whether it is a day float on the Current River or a hike in the Swiss Alps, my pack will contain a first-aid kit, food, extra water and clothing for a change in the weather. You can’t imagine how many times my extra items have helped out fellow hikers or paddlers.
Keep moving. Learn some new tricks. Be prepared. And have fun in the great outdoors!
Barbara Gibbs Ostmann is an internationally known travel writer and social media expert.
PEARLS OF WISDOM
Never take anything or anyone for granted. Life changes in a split-second; “secure” jobs end when entire facilities are shut down. Loved ones’ lives are robbed by disease. Make every hug and kiss good-bye like it’s the last one.
In the 6th chapter of Matthew, Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
Your shotgun may be valuable, but the relationship you built with your child, sitting in a blind helping him or her try to bag a turkey is priceless. The shotgun may get stolen, but what you wove into the fiber of that child’s being will last forever.
Never spend more than you make. That goes right along with knowing the difference between your needs and your wants.
To complete the trio, we should mention self-discipline. Once you’ve decided that it’s a want and not a need or you’ve decided that it will require more than you have to attain it, will you have the self-discipline to tell yourself no?
Teach your children these same things. Teach them the benefits of delayed gratification. Offer them their favorite cookie – just one – now. Or, they can wait an hour (or more depending on age) and have three. The lessons they learn can ripple enough to impact our country.
Claudette Roper is the author of Claudette’s Kitchen in each Outdoor Guide.