Outdoors philosophy shaped by Schulz

Mar. 18, 2013 @ 09:09 PM

"Waaaaa waaaa waaa waaaa waaaa waaaaaa wa waa waaaaaa.”
If you understood this, then you know Charlie Brown. More importantly, if you understood the unmistakable voice of the never-seen teacher, then you know, or at the least appreciate, Charles Schulz.
I don’t know if Schulz wetted a line or sought game. He did give a beagle his due credit, and any man that loves a beagle is, well, a man.
I was passing a closed door, and the bold-type words attracted my eyes. The paper read: “The Charles Schulz Philosophy,” and that was enough to pause me.
Schulz encourages the reader to answer a few questions, such as name the five wealthiest people in the world, name the past five Heisman Trophy winners and name the past five Miss USA winners.
The point is that almost all of us would be unable to do answer these questions.
Further into his philosophy, Schulz encourages the reader to name the following: A few teachers who helped you through school, three friends who helped you through a difficult time and five people that love and care about you, enjoy spending time with you, and that do something nice for you.
We all should be able to answer these questions.
My mind moved from the moment to a million moments beyond the hallway, I thought about those people who have shared life, shared goodness, shared dark days, and shared this place known as the outdoors with me.
I have long believed that what we witness and engage in outdoors is a bonus of life, that we are able to be part of a sunrise or meditate when the sun sets. We seek refuge in friends, family and strangers and we share all of this.
Schulz’s philosophy is his own question. In this ever-fluxing world, perhaps his philosophy should be part of the mainstream conversation.
It would seem that our world is fixated on idolizing those with fame, fortune, beauty and superior skills.
How many people can name the past five Oscar winners?
To the contrary, who took you fishing the first time? Was it the left or right hand that you held when you followed them into the woods? How big was his smile when you held your largest fish while he said, “Say cheese?”
Did she hug you tight when you brought game home from the field and whispered into your ear, “Just like your father did?”
And what were the names, in order, of the last seven puppies you raised?
There are, as we know, life moments. We marvel at birth. We celebrate with candles. We kneel and honor. We cheer. We cry. We mourn. We pause and think.
For those who hunt, fish and wander outdoors, those also are life moments.
I consider the lives of my two young boys and me to be special in that we passionately, purposefully, playfully and persistently find adventure and purpose outdoors.
I could research it, but I don’t know who are the wealthiest people in the world.
I do, however, know wealth and other answers: My father; His left; It swallowed his face; Her name is Francis; and just saying Jasper’s name makes my eyes water.
As I have experienced in these 41 years on this earth, sometimes on the path and frequently running far from it, we are not born to hunt or fish. The same could be said for those who are wealthy, famous or professionally successful — they were not born that way.
Yet for the athlete who learned to throw the slider across the plate or cross-over dribble in the paint, even those who learned to rig bait or track game, we all had someone.
Schulz’s philosophy grounds us to what is really important in life — family, friends and helping hands along the way.
In my life, I have slipped and fallen into a creek or river, and when I reached my hand, I have never forgotten the hand that helped me climb the bank.
Sometimes I think people only look at me and see only a hunter or an angler.
Sometimes I think people look at an athlete and see only someone who gets paid millions to insert a leather ball into a hoop.
Moments. Questions. Philosophy. I will never be the same as I was.
I will always hunt and fish differently. Yet as I age, change and slow to look into the stars longer, I will remember the answers to Schulz’s questions.
Every night and every morning, I can only hope that if my sons ever happen upon his philosophy, they know I prefer the right hand.
Enjoy your time outdoors.

You may contact Jason Hawkins at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com.