The off-beat path


Late afternoon in the Everglades


I used to complain a lot, when I was a kid, about not having or doing what all the other kids could. Boo-hoo. The main thing was the T.V. We had a little black-and-white set that my folks actually kept stashed in the attic space of our house. This is a true story. On really special occasions my dad would drag out the ladder, climb up there and carefully work his way back down with the dusty set balanced on his shoulder. After brushing off a few erroneous insulation particles, he’d plug it in and patiently twist the antennae around until he got something other than a snowy screen. Television viewing was a laborious process at the Kern household. My sister and I were unfortunate enough to miss the dawn of the MTV age. I know what you’re thinking: What a sad, freakish adolescence.

But Mom, I'd rather have a puppy!!

It took me a while to realize what my mom and dad were trying to accomplish by raising us like Spartan children circa 400 B.C. For one thing, we spent a lot of time outdoors. My Dad was, and still is, a wildlife filmmaker. If you’ve poked around the website a bit you’ve already figured out that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Both of my folks studied biology in college, and have always been nuts about the natural world. They taught me valuable things like the different stages in the life cycle of a toad, or how to appreciate a good book. I learned (not first-hand) that prolonged exposure to MTV will turn the cerebral cortex into an organ that functions similarly to a bowl of coconut flan. If you need proof, take a look at the Jersey Shore guys.
I also learned that South Florida is a great place to grow up…...outdoors. Although

That's my Dad, the primate on the left

we didn’t have a ton of money or toys like some folks, I began to realize how rich our surroundings were. It’s impossible to comprehend how amazing this place is until you experience it first-hand. Where else in the country can you find crocodiles, or manatees? Or coral reefs!? In fact, if you study a map of the world’s deserts you’ll notice that South
Florida is pretty lucky not to be a dry, dusty wasteland. Quite the opposite. We’re privileged to live in one of the most bio-diverse chunks of real-estate in the continental U.S.
Finally, I learned that in life’s journey, you’re on the right track if it requires a machete. When you stick to the free-way, you end up missing the really good stuff. Just ask Robert Frostor my parents.
So what the heck is my point anyway? I guess what I’m trying to say is, get out there. Forget about your i-phone, i-pod, and i-world for a moment. Take the opportunity to be yourself and appreciate the natural world. Trust’s a lot more interesting than staring at a T.V. screen.
But I’ll cut you a break if you check in on Odyssey Earth from time to time………

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