During an event at Riveredge I was taking pictures at one of our satellite locations to promote future installments. I walked back to the main building to pick up some sort of forgotten tool for the program and for all of about 10 minutes the light was still coming through the trees but had already darkened across the land. As the sun went retreated, the remaining light gradually crawled up the forest.
At Riveredge Nature Center, we recently completed a conservation easement. This will ensure that 287 acres (75% of the total land) will forever be protected from development and permanently preserved for habitat conservation and education. I’m proud to have been on-staff while the long process was completed and to have collaborated on the unveiling. Visit this announcement for complete details.
Each time I read or hear people refer to riding a motorcycle as “wind therapy” I roll my eyes. Sure, somewhat for the unforgivable corniness (and I’ve got plenty of dad jokes), but it’s more than that.
The thing I find irritating is that we have to brand something as “therapy” in order to legitimize enjoying it. We’re so caught up in both branding and preposterous guilt for enjoying the moments of our lives spent not working that we have justify the simple act of riding a motorcycle as “therapy.” It reminds me of the idea of food as medicine. Sure, some foods have a healing component, but are we really so far from simply enjoying a dish for its own sake that we have to call it medicine to legitimize its existence on our plates?
I think having so much close technological access to working all the time plays into this. The moments when we’re not on our devices doing some sort of work, when our eyes are watching the curving road, hands busy throttling and braking, feet shifting and leaning, we’re too otherwise absorbed to possibly be working. And for this respite from work, to be in our own heads with our own thoughts, to be providing no financial benefit to anyone (except to the gas and tire and motorcycle companies…) we have to explain away our own enjoyment as “wind therapy.”
In the Midwest, two things we do a lot of is working and apologizing. Beginning a sentence with, “Oh, I’m sorry…” is commonplace. Our culture teaches us to be life-long martyrs for our work and therefore we must apologize for the moments when we’re not working. Calling it therapy is half apology and half hail mary claim that it’s necessary for our health. Nearly every act a person engages in that is enjoyable and not somehow detrimental is therapeutic. We don’t need to brand having a life outside of work as therapy.
I enjoy skimming the surface in a canoe, ice skating in lieu of cross country ski snow, riding motorcycles and mountain bikes – plenty of activities. Being active is good for my body and brain and soul and I don’t think that makes me unique. I enjoy plenty of sitting still activities too, like writing and reading and sitting in my chair in the dark and thinking, sometimes with jazz on the record player. Bowhunting will always be sitting in the woods listening to birds and hoping to spot a deer. I enjoy those acts simply for being alive and capable enough to do them. Sure, sitting in the woods with your own thoughts can have a healing effect. But I’m not going to start calling the moments I’m simply enjoying my time being alive “therapy.” I just call that having my own life and not being at work all the time – for which none of us should need the justification of a brand or a hashtag or an apology.
I went out for a little jaunt to take some pictures of the vibrant, rain glistening greens of lichen and moss on the last day of fall at Riveredge Nature Center. Here are my favorites from my brief walk. Click the arrow on the right side of the image to see more.
Here is this little overheard gem. Every once in awhile strangers still have conversations in bars without phones between their faces. When they do, you can overhear a gem or two. This was a visitor from L.A. making a stop in Milwaukee from California. Click the arrows to the right to read the next line. Viva Midwest. Flyover and Friendly.
I think us Midwesterners generally develop an appreciation for the ephemeral. Otherwise we develop winter depression or move. Here are a few friends of mine racing motorcycles on studded tires on the frozen McKinley Marina in downtown Milwaukee. On the other side of the breakwater people are ice fishing. We’ve all got our seasonal loves. Unless we have a February heatwave, I expect the ice should be solid for Slippery Sunday during the weekend of Mama Tried Motorcycle Show (if that’s where they decide the ice racing will take place).