Welcome to the launch of Outdoor Calling, my little site about the big outdoors. This is my place to share photos I take (like the great blue heron above) and thoughts I have (“bird watching should really be called bird stalking”) while outside.
But, oh reader, in my head it did not start that way. When I first envisioned this site it kept expanding in myriad directions and bloating with ideas for content—imagine the outdoor profiles, history, environmental research projects, important work and issues I could cover. After all, the outdoors I’m called to is infinitely-inspiring, nature needs all the support it can get, and my brain tends to be restless and striving.
On top of that, outdoor media can make it feel like you have to be bigger, better, more to matter—have grander adventures, travel farther and faster, collect more likes, followers, influence.
But, the actual outdoors—the trees and trails, hills and mountains I’m called to—doesn’t care about any of that. So I decided to think small.
Small means I can do my thing, without worrying about what that should be or necessarily knowing what that will be. Small means I can share my outdoor points of view, the things I notice during my, often small, travels here in Maine, or wherever my feet take me. And that will be enough.
That heron above? Last summer I’d see her (or is it him?) hanging out by the small dam down the road, silent, still, waiting for dinner to swim near. Whenever I ran by I’d slow down, scanning to see if she was hidden just feet below. Each time I spied her statue stillness was a happy, comforting surprise.
I think that heron is pretty neat. I also think our world could use more of her calm poise, quietude, and patience. So, here’s another picture, because those feel like reasons enough to share some beauty.
Broad horizons and outlooks are inspiring and vital, and I love a vast view with peaks, forests, and scope for the imagination. But there’s also value in knowing one’s own small places.
It worked for Henry David Thoreau. His cabin at Walden Pond was a mere half mile from the main road, and he still had transcendent thoughts to share about the importance of walking in the woods and living a deliberate life. Yes, his walks also took him to town where his mom did his laundry, but to be fair, he also helped out around her place. None of us are perfect exemplars of anything. Well, maybe that heron is.
I could wait until I’m a more talented photographer, creative writer, stronger runner, or more technical skier to launch this site (and we’d all be waiting a long while). Or I can dig into Outdoor Calling now and see what grows, imperfect but not faulty.
Ultimately, I decided I was enough as is. Small is enough. It’s also freeing. It doesn’t make promises or raise expectations (don’t expect Thoreau-level insights here).
This is it. Outdoor Calling. It’s my little site about the big outdoors. It’s the place for the photos I take and the thoughts I have while outside, running, skiing, hiking, being. Because I’m at my best when I go outside and this is what I’ve got to share.
And much like that heron, while there’s peace and beauty in the stillness, eventually we have to fly.