The Outdoors(,)man

Yours truly

You get yourself into nature, get all immersed in the experience. You come home refreshed and look up some new places to see, maybe a waterfall. “I’ve never seen a marsh before!” You go go go.

There are lots of backpack options. “Do I need a water bladder? Of course I do.” What about this extra pouch with scratch-resistant lining? “I need that, too.” You’re a smart consumer so you read reviews. You choose a great one. Fits perfect, too.

Then you buy a camera. “Nature’s so beautiful – I need to capture it.” Everything you take in, you take out. Now that includes the nature itself. You see the waterfall, snap a few pictures, take a few more. Hike some feet, see a fine view. Snap. Snap snap. You come home refreshed and edit some photos, throw them up on Instagram, and watch the likes pour in.

“Maybe I’ll start a website” you say. “More people need to see this stuff!” And you begin exploring history. It takes you to Dutch colonists, it takes you to indigenous Lenape tribes. You begin learning about the Algonquian language group. You pick up every two dollar book on folklore you can find on thriftbooks. You read through ’em. Even though some are severely sexist – you consider the time period.The culture. Immersed again.

Buttermilk Falls, Layton NJ

But what about those people who can’t go hiking? Your website needs to accommodate these folks, too. So you find a guy with a drone and you take aerial projections. You buy a GoPro knockoff because you spent too much on the camera and pack. You try your hand at making a virtual “hike” for a niche group of people who might want to spend time outdoors. You fail. Miserably.

You’re now a wealth of knowledge about trails and hiking. You never start a fire. You never snap a branch, never pull a flower. It’s all here momentarily, after all. Even you. Well, except all those pictures you took.

And you keep exploring. Your trails lead you farther away from home, farther away from your website about hiking. They lead you where you’re supposed to be: free from the everyday nuisances of people. That’s the deal, after all.

Then you come home scratching. “What a weird little bug bite.” You forget about it – only hurts when you’re wearing a belt anyway. Two weeks pass. The bite blows up. It’s 10 cm by 4 cm. You go to Urgent Care. “Looks like a spider bite.” At least you don’t have Lyme! You get your ‘script for cephalexin and head to CVS, then home. Hiking’s on hold.

You scan your camera’s viewfinder while slathering medicated aloe vera all over your back. Shouldn’t this antibiotic have worked already? The rash looks like it’s going away. You begin looking up your next adventure.

Richard W. DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst NJ

No pain. It’s lost some of its redness. But it’s changed. Looks different now. “Why does my shoulder hurt?” After a few more days you return to Urgent Care. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life” the doctor says.


“It’s grown! Whoo boy it’s crossed the median! Mark it as…16 cm by 12 cm.” He’s stumped. “We’re going to chalk this one up to ‘Weird Bug Bite’.” He orders blood be taken. “It looks like a bullseye rash now. How strange.” He thinks it’s Lyme. You’re prescribed doxycycline – the tough stuff.

The next day you receive the call with results. You already know what they’re going to say. You feel the joint pain. You answer anyway. Yup. You tested positive. How wonderful.

You keep researching. Keep finding trails. Once this thing goes down you’ll be back out there with your camera. You’ll be back in the forest. Back where you belong. This time, with an arsenal of DEET. And your website will finally come together. NJBeautiful will be a thing come Hell or high water.

Mark. My. Words.


Author: antbrov

Fiction | Magical Realism | Introspective Write > Edit > Hate > Learn > Write...

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