Newspaper archives are a wonderful resource when researching the past. While browsing our local Cleveland Plain Dealer articles, I often come across columns written by the late George E. Condon who worked for the newspaper from 1943 until his retirement in 1985 and wrote a daily column for over 20 years. He had amazing knowledge of Cleveland and he shared his wisdom and humor on many other topics as well.
The title of Condon’s column on February 17, 1967, “Nature Speaks Eloquently,” caught my eye. Originally I noticed the article because it was released on February 17, the same day as this blog post. As I read, I was further delighted to find that it mentioned the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District. Condon referenced a story from February 7 that had promoted nature walks in the parks and showed pictures of a recent hike at North Chagrin Reservation. While it was great to see that one hundred people had attended the hike, I especially enjoyed what he said next.
Condon went on to suggest that people were seeking nature because “They are, I’m sure, desperately trying to flee the narrow confines offered by house-to-office living and a scale of recreation which begins with Channel 3, hops to Channel 5 and ends with Channel 8.” He continued to write about people’s lack of exercise due to armchairs and TV remotes and said “If there is anything at all to the theory of evolutionary development, the future will find us a race of people with extraordinary wrists and strong stubby forefingers.” Wow! Nearly 50 years ago he was making the case for tuning out and going outside. If this was a problem with only three antenna channels available, imagine what he might have said today?
I encourage you to read his entire column which is linked with this post. Then I suggest that you power down whatever device you are reading this on and go outside for a walk. I think George Condon would approve.
(Author note: Condon did in fact see much of our latest technology. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 94.)
Download a PDF of Walking in the Woods
Download a PDF of Nature Speaks Eloquently