Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

January 20, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: A place to freely roam

By LARRY JONES

For many years of my adult life, I was forced to live in a manner that I considered unnatural and demeaning – not the way I felt a human being should have to exist.

You ask, “What was this odious existence that I was forced to endure?” Was I incarcerated, hospitalized or held for ransom? No, I was merely living in an urban environment like over 90 percent of our population today.

As a youngster, I was fortunate to have the freedom of wide open spaces where I could hunt, fish, swim, and explore the marvelous wonders of nature and the great outdoors. Unfortunately, few kids today have this opportunity because they are “condemned” to city living. Sure, there are a few creeks, vacant lots, and park areas available, but sadly many such areas are ill-suited for children to roam freely. Gangs, drugs, sex offenders, and urban violence make it too risky to consider.

Being chased by a neighbor’s Brahma bull or bitten by a rattlesnake seems inconsequential compared to what today’s urban youth could face.

During the time I was forced to live in large metropolitan areas, I longed to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

While stationed in Norfolk, Va., it would take a full hour to be outside the city and its suburbs. Even then, I had few places I could go and enjoy nature’s bounty. Places I could always count on to be available were the public lands and state parks.

There I could take my family camping, fishing, and hiking. We could take in the sights, sounds, and sensations as I had done while growing up on Route One in Millsap.

I’ve always known how richly blessed I have been to have a small plot of land where I can get away from it all. The explosive growth of Parker County attests to this same mindset in our new neighbors.  Most will never have this luxury.

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