The lovely photo staring me in the face shows grand hills covered in pines, a stream flowing gently in the background, and chipmunks chatting atop boulders. How peaceful and serene. Until, that is, I scroll the multitude of other photos in the same post and note the day’s adventures were met with snakes, bears sightings, and the possibility of Lyme Disease. How am I supposed to embark on an outdoor adventure when there are so many hidden dangers in taking a simple nature walk?
I appreciate exploring the wild with my children. However, there is a growing concern I might be unable to keep my children safe while exploring the great outdoors. Especially as I tend to be on excursions alone or with a group of other mamas. (Mid-week hikes are not always an option for our hard-working fathers.) People are constantly reminding me to be on the alert for Lyme Disease. Rattle snakes, bears, and mountain lions are also an issue where we live. Guys seem to relish telling us of recent attacks, and how on alert we should be. It can all be a bit daunting. Is it worth the risk?
I’ll be honest, it’s hard to maintain motivation when we’re continually being told of the negative without being given a helpful, constructive method of handling the issues. By all means, alert me to the dangers. I do not wish to be foolish and walk my family into harm’s way. Then, please, teach us how to be safe.
Being informed is key. For example, while Lyme Disease is on the rise, we have been recently informed on how to identify lice, how to handle lice on clothing and skin, measures to prevent being bitten, methods of removing lice from the body, and healthy steps to be taken should any of us be bitten. The disease is no longer as scary as it was because we are now informed. Other dangers will require their own precautions and perhaps hiking with additional families for safety purposes. It starts not only with knowing but seeking a solution.
What I don’t want to happen is for my children to have a fear of nature. That would break my heart. Yes, these dangers exist. Yes, we need to be cautious and make wise decisions. However, nature should not be so dangerous my children are never allowed to explore or fear for their life when in the wild. Instead, I wish for them to have a healthy respect for God’s creation, a desire to learn about nature, and a passion for the outdoors.
When it comes to exploring, I need to know what the dangers might be and do my best to prepare for them. I cannot see everything – this where faith the Lord will either protect us or provide comes into play – but I can do my best to know what to look for and how I can take precautions. Before embarking on our outdoor adventure we pray for peace and protection, knowing no matter what comes God is in control. Then, we enjoy the day.
I refuse to allow the possibility of danger to destroy the moment. God made this world for us to explore and enjoy. It would be a shame for us to deny this gift because we are unwilling to try and trust. We are bringing the dangers of nature walks into the light, exploring possibilities, and together choosing to trust the Lord with our adventures. Now, we have photos of our own outings and excitedly share what God has shown us through the journey.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
~ Job 12:7-10
Your Turn!: Do hidden dangers of nature walks prevent you from exploring out-of-doors?