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The Good Doctor Outdoors

Out of shape? Out of steam? Out of sorts? Out of touch? Maxed out? Fried? Frumpy? Grumpy? Depleted? Depressed? Gone bonkers?

Well, you've come to the right spot. The good Doctor Outdoors can fix you right up-make you wholesome, healthy and happy.

This is no quack remedy. The good doctor has helped millions of people. He's cured flabbiness, boredom, feelings of worthlessness. He's added tang to the listless, shored up the shaken and eased the burden of the laden.

Modern life takes its toll on the human machine. Our new gadgets and robots make living easy, if not luxurious. When so much is done for us, we pay the price with battered psyches, bloated bodies and dampened enthusiasm. We eat too much and watch too much TV.

The Good Doctor Outdoors can fix you up. He promises to streamline your frame, elasticize your lungs and give you the digestion of a horse. At the same time, he can put you in touch with your inner being, help you understand your place in the cosmos and move you closer to your creator. No dance exercise video can make the same claims.

His prescriptions are simple and inexpensive and have no ill side effects, although many of them are habit-forming. You don't have to take pills, give yourself injections or wear patches. The good doctor only requires you to taste the bracing air and drink in a fine broth of natural sights, scents and sounds.

The Good Doctor Outdoors has a prescription for nearly every malady, modern or ancient, mental or physical.

Lonely: Visit a nature center. Sign up for nature walks. Join a conservation group. Go see the eagles below the dams.

Harried: Recline on a grassy field or stream bank, far from honking horns, yammering advertisements and boomboxes with too much bass. Let your negative energies dissolve into the ground. (Note: Treatment is effective only if continued for 10 minutes.)

Insomnia: Spend a day paddling a canoe downriver, walking it over riffles. When you close your eyes at night, you'll see the flowing water and the canvas of green along the river banks and then you'll see nothing until morning.

Overweight: Follow a deer trail up and down ridges. When you are tired, pause a while, then walk some more. Repeat three times a week.

Depressed: Throw a baited hook into a pond and catch a bluegill. Continue treatment until you have enough for a meal. For severe depression, strew half a can of corn into a shallow area, bait a hook with a few kernels, then throw your line out and wait. Yell "Yee-Ha" during your long battle with a carp.

Addicted to TV: Get a birdfeeder. Identify and log all visiting birds. Listen to and learn their calls. Challenge yourself to keep out squirrels.

Out of shape: Take to the trails as often as possible. Look for the ones with a lot of ups and downs.

Low self-esteem: Go hunting and let the first animal that you could legally bag pass by without your shooting.

Bored: Take a leisurely hike with someone. Keep the conversation spare. Observe and listen. Stop for coffee on the way home. Then discuss your trip.

April is a great time to start your outdoors treatment. Everything more alive than a rock is stirring; seeds are shaking off their dormancy and birds are winging their way to nesting areas. The outdoors is arustle, abuzz, amurmer and atwitter.

Treatment is cheap, usually free, although some activities require an inexpensive permit, and no appointment is necessary. To begin your therapy, simply stop by one of the hundreds of conservation areas scattered across the state. And please, if you don't get help from the Good Doctor Outdoors, get help somewhere.

Tom Cwynar, Editor

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