Photo courtesy of Staff at Wilderness Adventure

I remember the question clearly. I was talking to a professor in my college years and we were swapping stories of outdoor escapades, interrupting each other with friendly one-upsmanship. On the wall above his desk hung a large framed picture of a fly fisherman standing ankle-deep in flowing water with his line half out and waving behind his shoulders.

He paused to ask, “who got you into all of this, how did Mother Nature pull you in, what connects you to the natural world,” or more simply put, “why?” And I remember sitting there trying to think of a thoughtful response. His intentions were good but I was struck by the question. Their were plenty of small reasons, really sensations, as to why the natural world resignated with me; a cool breeze on a summer’s day, orange and yellow blossoms in the Autumn sky, or perhaps sleeping under an infinite sky filled with different planets.

But I couldn’t put a cummalitive thumb on it, on “why?” And then, as I stuttered to poorly explain a jumble of an answer, a lightbulb flicked on and I realized that the question for me had never been why, but instead it revolved around why not?

If their was no need for the trees, the aestetics and the leaves, what substitute for air would I breathe? If the morning sun forgot to rise, how could I fail to notice the darkened skies? And without a need to know more, to see whats behind every door, without this Adventure Thirst, then the question can be reversed; Why?

I don’t remember what I told my professor thay day, but after our conversation I recognized my intrinsic “why-not” attitude towards the natural world, the satisfaction of something so simple embedded in complexity, and it opened a brand new appreciation for the world I live in. The question now stands for those of you with a wandering eye out the window, the weekend warrior, andthe air-breathers; Why Not?