What inspires you? What pushes you to move forward?
I’m Amy Bushatz, and if you’ve listened to the Humans Outside podcast for awhile, you’re probably wondering where the theme music and intro is. We’re skipping that this week because it’s time for a more serious talk, and that seemed flippant.
I’ve been thinking about the people and stories that get me going and give me the courage to do all of the hard things.
It’s really the current world events that has me thinking about this, most notably the George Floyd protests and the many, many people standing boldly against racial injustice of all kinds. Any time a man or woman has the courage to stand in the arena fighting for better, fighting for what they believe to be right, I am inspired to do better and be better, too.
Because I am a white woman, I have the privilege – and I am using that word on purpose – to spend time outside in the way I see fit, regardless of weather or time of day. You’ve heard me talk about how I have done my outside time at night, walking a city street after dark or early in the morning because that’s the time I had.
Because I am a white woman, no one saw me and assumed I was out there to cause them harm.
I often spend my outdoor time running. Because I am white, no one has ever seen me run through a neighborhood, assumed I am a criminal and shot me. Not a single person. And it’s not because I only run through safe neighborhoods — I dont — or because I only run during the day or in Alaska — I don’t. It’s because I am white.
Because my sons are white young men, they can meander through neighborhoods on their bikes, chatting to themselves or waiting for me at stop signs as I run behind them — and no one ever lock their doors as they pass or accuse them of loitering when they stop.
On May 27 I celebrated 1,000 days of daily outdoor time — a personal accomplishment that I’ve publicly logged in the form of a daily post on Instagram and, of course, my work here on the Humans Outside podcast. My friends were amazing and went with me on a 1,000 day day hike and surprised me with gifts and fanfare at the halfway point, a really gorgeous overlook on top of this tiny mountain here called the Butte.
As I celebrated this, many friends and podcast fans reached out to congratulate me and tell me how much my outdoor time has inspired them. I’m really honored and humbled by that, because when I first took on the challenge, which is still going strong by the way, it wasn’t for the sake of anyone but me.
As much as I want to help you get outside, too, this whole thing really was selfish in the beginning. It was just me, Amy, trying to improve my own life by making spending time outside a part of my daily routine, come hell or high water.
And that brings me back to George Floyd, and the people standing on the streets right now protesting the way race so unfairly influences the American experience and those officers of the law and military who uphold their oaths and do their jobs, providing safety and not inciting violence through criminal acts.
This weekly outdoor diary is my reflections on my time spent outdoors and the things on my mind as I do it. As I was writing up what i want to say today, there’s a cold, drab rain, dripping off our American flag that hangs from a pole off my front porch, framed by green leaves from a tree on the side of our yard.
When I see it I am reminded of the outdoor beauty that I have witness everywhere in this amazing land. But that flag is also supposed to mean freedom from oppression for all of us. And right now it doesn’t.
My inspiration this week was those people — those standing up and saying this is not OK, those standing up and protecting them, the people I know guiding these hard conversations and teaching me how talk about these things with courage even though Im going to get it wrong and I’m going to have to say so when – not if, WHEN – I do.
Inspiration isn’t a monopoly and there’s plenty to go around in all sorts of subjects. If I have inspired you with my outdoor time, I am so glad.
But I want to work towards making sure the outdoors is available without fear of the other people in it for ALL of its users. It’s not enough to simply not be racist. We must actively be anti- racist through our words and actions. We can’t just fight the injustice that plant themselves in our laps. We must actively look for and fight injustice.
No outdoor hero this week other than those who are actively fighting injustice and those who are protecting those doing the fighting. Thank you.
Until next time, we’ll see you out there.