The following post is from Joeth Zucco, Senior Project Editor at UNP.
I opted outside on Black Friday. Or rather #OptOutside. Outdoor retailer REI started the campaign in 2015. It makes sense. They sell outdoor recreation, and instead of lining up customers outside their stores, they gave their employees the day off (with pay!) and asked them to practice what they preach. It’s really a brilliant marketing idea.
I’ve never been a fan of Black Friday. I go out of my way not to spend money on that day. And with Black Friday sales starting earlier and earlier and even morphing into Brown Thursday, Shop Local Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday—the entire holiday shopping season has become too much (although, thankfully, it’s trying to accommodate local retailers and charities). The holiday frenzy has even spurred activists like the Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping.
But back to #OptOutside. That’s just what my daughter, my dog, and I did on Friday. We went for an early morning run through Wilderness Park, located on the southwest edge of Lincoln. Trails for bikers, runners and hikers, and equestrians crisscross the 1472-acre woodland. It’s the closest place in Lincoln to dip into nature.
For the most part the leaves have fallen, covering the ground and hiding roots and dips in the trail. Except for a passing train, it was almost quiet and definitely peaceful. We heard birds chirping, squirrels scurrying along the forest floor, footfall softened by the leafy trail surface. We crossed paths with other runners and a couple of bikers. And every once and a while we’d stop and look. Hug a tree. Admire the clear water of the stream under the bridge. And breathe in the crisp morning air.
If Lincoln gets a good snow, Wilderness Park is also a perfect place to cross-country ski. Dika Eckersley, a longtime UNP book designer and lover of winter, used to ski in Wilderness Park. I remember hearing that she’d take the first snowy day off from work to go skiing. I’ve only done that once in the fourteen years that I’ve worked at the press. Dika and I never skied together, but I think of her every time I clip in and kick and glide.
Opt Outside shouldn’t just be a Black Friday protest or activity. You can #OptOutside with any number of UNP books. From those in the Outdoor Lives series—like Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts to Bicycling Beyond the Divide: Two Journeys into the West by Daryl Farmer to any number of titles on our National Parks like Yellowstone Autumn: A Season of Discovery in a Wondrous Land by W. D. Wetherell. Even closer to home, here in Nebraska, UNP authors like Paul Johnsgard write about Sandhill and Whooping Cranes, The Niobrara, and The Nature of Nebraska, while Gary Moulton, editor of The Definitive Journals of Lewis and Clark, brought to life the daily observations and trials of the Corps of Discovery.
Enjoy the season—bundle up and go on an adventure outdoors or cozy up with a good book indoors!