8.13.2014

Too Long for a Tweet, Too Short for a Blog Post VII

https://p.gr-assets.com/max_square/fill/books/1183502425/1427377.jpgHere's an excerpt from a book I am reading now, Working at Play: A History of Vacations in the United States by Cindy S. Aron:

Indeed, for some the chief benefit of camping came from the labor it required.  The three "fagged out" businessmen who followed doctor's orders and decided to take their wives in the Rocky Mountains in 1896 found that much of their "therapy" derived from the work of camping.  First the male campers labored to build a "huge stove (dubbed the 'smelting works') from stone and scraps of heavy tin obtained from empty cans."  The writer described the enormous pleasure of the experience - even for three men who had suffered not only recent business reversals but "years of strain such as few middle-aged Americans live through."  What they needed, apparently, was not just relaxation, but a way to combine physical labor - something from their everyday, middle-class lives - with outdoor recreation.  Only men who spent their days doing "brain work" could turn to manual labor for therapy or enjoyment.  According to the author, "the novelty of all these little tasks made the experience an unending picnic."  The work of maintaining the camp engaged much but not all of their leisure: "Such time as could be spared from camp duties was pretty evenly divided between reading, whist, boating, fishing, or hunting.  The days seemed all too short."  Whether the story was apocryphal or real, the message was clear: work was essential to a successful vacation.
Post a Comment