OUT-OF-DOORS, n. That part of one's environment upon which no government has been able to collect taxes. Chiefly useful to inspire poets.
I climbed to the top of a mountain one day
To see the sun setting in glory,
And I thought, as I looked at his vanishing ray,
Of a perfectly splendid story.
'Twas about an old man and the ass he bestrode
Till the strength of the beast was o'ertested;
Then the man would carry him miles on the road
Till Neddy was pretty well rested.
The moon rising solemnly over the crest
Of the hills to the east of my station
Displayed her broad disk to the darkening west
Like a visible new creation.
And I thought of a joke (and I laughed till I cried)
Of an idle young woman who tarried
About a church-door for a look at the bride,
Although 'twas herself that was married.
To poets all Nature is pregnant with grand
Ideas — with thought and emotion.
I pity the dunces who don't understand
The speech of earth, heaven and ocean.
2009 Update: A region much explored in college lectures, slide presentations and blog entries. The great out there.
Settling into my chair in a restaurantAl Gore approached me, earnest though not gauntHe begged me consider my footprint longAnd listen as gravely as he ran on."The great outdoors calls you, answer brieflyWith sacrifice and appetite chiefly!""Where shall I find this suffering sweet thing?"I asked as he asked the waiter to bringThe fried scallops platter, and a bottleOf wine, "Seek the fermented to coddle,The polluted to cleanse, the gassy tooThe environment needs me, and I you.""Where is this environment?" I asked him."Outdoors!" He answered, gravy on his chin.-Calzone Collins.