I did not grow up in an “outdoorsy” family. My mother was too busy partying and my dad was off somewhere with wife number 3… or maybe it was 4? (I forget.) We had no family around and we didn’t know anyone who hiked, so where did my undeniable love – and need – for being in the outdoors come from? Was Lady Gaga right? Was I born this way? I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately and I believe that, while that may be partially correct, the majority of the credit goes to my 5th grade Science teacher.
Ms. Boss was my Science teacher, but she was really so much more. She was my very first mentor and role model, and she sparked my passion for nature. Whenever possible, our classes were held outside – even in the winter (and we were in Alaska). She took us to the woods next to the school, and taught us all about the natural world. Thanks to her, I learned to soak in the sunshine, relish the rain, and appreciate the beauty all around me. She helped us learn what we could eat and what we couldn’t, what plants were medicinal and which were poisonous, and how all of the animals and insects depended on each other to survive. She even somehow managed to get permission to take us on an all-day hike to pick blueberries! (Ah, school in the 70’s…)
By the time that semester was over, I was forever an Outdoorswoman. Since that time – and we’re talking 40 years here – my heart has belonged to nature. As soon as I get back from a hike, I start planning for the next one. Heck, I even live in the woods! As soon as my boots hit the trail, parts of me relax that I didn’t even know were tense. I feel peace, joy, and the sense of being “home”. I love it – and I am forever grateful to Ms. Bonnie Boss – my most beloved Sole Sister.