When was growing up, I would hear how wonderful it was to go the beach. We had a few sandy beaches on a few lakes in Oklahoma where I grew up, but no ocean. I had seen the oceans on some of our travels as a kid. I remember the ocean in Florida and Oregon. The ocean in Viet Nam was just a quarter of a mile away from our compound. I tried to love the beach. We also had several trips to the mountains. We visited the Appalachian Mountains, Great Smokey Mountains, Sangre de Christo Mountains, Rocky Mountains, and the small mountains of Oklahoma, the Wichitas, Ouachitas, and Arbuckles. I loved all those mountains, especially those covered in trees. If I could not get to the mountains, getting out in the woods was the next best thing. I like to sit in the woods, have lunch in the woods, hike in the woods, camp out in the woods.
During my year in Viet Nam, I lived within a quarter of a mile of a beautiful beach. I spent a half dozen afternoons there. The problem with the beach is that there is only sand and water. If I poked around in the sand, I could find some shellfish, insects or other crustaceans, but often not much else. I found the beach boring.
Ten years ago, Glenda and I moved to Washington State. Initially we lived in Bellevue. By the end of the first year, I had enough big city life. It was even more boring than the beach. We decided to buy a house and ended up in North Bend. Lots of forests, mountains, waterfalls and rivers. It was the best ever.
Now that I am no longer working as a doctor, I have to find other things to do. I have figured out how to combine mountains, forests, and being busy, by helping make hiking trails through the woods and up the side of mountains. If I need a change of pace, I can help remove bad plants from the forest. The invasive blackberry plants have terrible thorns, and choke out the smaller plants, even smaller trees, killing them. The English Ivy has no thorns but will climb up even tall trees and kill those too. There are lots of things to learn about how to build or repair trails, and how to manage the invasive weeds.
Since the COVID quarantine, most of my volunteer opportunities have dried up. Leaves more time for helping with the writing!