Rick Cunningham: The pandemic and the Great Outdoors

Staff Writer
Hays Daily News

When my friends and I went to Tuttle Creek this year for our annual trip, we decided not to hook up our TV. It was a great decision.

Our trip has always been an escape from our daily lives. For a week, we’re all together, escaping from our jobs and the everyday stresses of life. Even though we all love our homes and family, it can be stressful, and we get away to sit around a campfire, eat too much, turkey hunt, look for mushrooms, and just enjoy each other’s company.

If we would have hooked up the TV, we would have had to hear about the pandemic. It’s everywhere — sports, TV, newspapers — even if we go anywhere uptown, to church, or out to eat, we see the effects.

It still affected us, as one of our dearest friends was not able to attend. He was sorely missed. We missed his humor, his stories, just his presence. He’s such an important piece of our enjoyment. I hope and pray that when we get back to some normalcy, he will be able to return.

The outdoors provides such an escape from the troubles of life. When you’re doing an activity in the outdoors, it takes you away from everything else, as you focus on your task.

I can guarantee that the turkeys, deer, geese, ducks, and fish know nothing of our current problems.

It was obvious that a lot of other folks felt the same way, as the outdoors were busier than I had ever seen. The lakes were busy; our local river and campground in Ellis were busy. This is by far the most turkey hunters I’d ever seen.

With no school and a lot of people looking for things to do, it made complete sense.

If you went to Wal-Mart or any sporting goods store, you could see the proof, as a lot of the shelves of fishing gear were bare.

Talk about natural social distancing – these activities are usually enjoyed by yourself or with a few close friends and family.

I know that every time I go to the outdoors, I feel such peace. Other than spending time in church, there is no other place that gives me such peace.

If you haven’t tried it, I suggest that you spend some time outdoors, even if it’s just for a walk. You will find it’s a great escape.

May God bless you all.

Rick Cunningham is an avid outdoorsman from Ellis.