Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Back to nature

For me, exercise consists of walking to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of ice cream. I require goals; meandering wistfully along the beach - no matter how picturesque - doesn't fill that objective.

However, my wife insists we get "out in nature." I am unsure why this is essential. After all, I ride a bicycle and take a daily walk, both of which are outside the confines of my house. Isn't that "nature?"

I don't have a problem with "nature" per se; I'm just not sure where are its boundaries. How far from home must I go to be in it? Why isn't it closer? When I leave the window open, is not the breeze flowing through my screen, "nature"? Weekly, I brave the flora and fauna of my front law - all part of nature I presume - as I mow it. (My wife insists trimming the grass is as similar to "being in nature" as rearranging patio chairs is to landscaping.)

Don't get me wrong, I hold nothing against the great outdoors; I even watch the weather channel. It's just, that nature is so darn, well - how can I say this - "natural." I get cold in nature. Dirt gets on my clothing. When I go to Nature, I must put on special trail shoes with laces long enough to tie down an ocean liner. The extra loops and flaps on these shoes baffle me and make me feel stupid.

When my wife is bored, I inevitably hear, "Honey, let's do something different."

I hate that sentence; I know where it's going - and it's not inside.

"Such as?" I'll ask, hoping my preconceptions are wrong.

"I don't know. What would you like to do?"

See, this confuses me. I'm content doing what I'm doing or I would already be doing "something different." I enjoy doing things the same. I know how to do them.

"How about (... wait for it, wait for it...) we go to nature?"

I attempt to delay the fait accompli. "It's cold outside."

"Wear a jacket."

"It's windy."

"Put on a scarf."

"My scarf's itchy."

Accepting the inescapable, my cranky inner child bundles up in prickly neck wear, overstuffed coat, insulated gloves, and ski mask, to join my wife on the beach - perfectly timed for an arctic blast of freezing cold wind, carrying sharp pin-pricks of icy sea mist to slam into my glasses, making it impossible to see.

Unaware of my trauma, she says, "Isn't this beautiful?"

Too wrapped in protection to move freely, I merely grunt, and imagine warmer times in my living room, staring out the window, observing nature where it belongs.

About the author: Scott "Q" Marcus lost 70 pounds in 1994 and is a professional speaker. He is available for speeches, workshops, or comments at 707.442.6243 or His new book, "Striving for Imperfection, 52 Motivational, Playful Columns on Weight Loss, Habit Change, and Other Acts of Faith," is now available by contacting him or visiting

No comments: