I’m not sure what cancelling the “stay-at-home” order for our state accomplished, as everyone I know has been going everywhere they darn well pleased anyway.

We wear masks, try to stay the “required” 6-feet away from each other in check-out lines, don’t hug aunt Bessie if we see her in the aisle at Walmart and don’t shake the preachers hand at the gas station, but we are not barricading ourselves inside and hanging out of third-floor balconies.

Perhaps outdoorsmen and women have a “leg-up” so to speak on this whole social distancing thing, as when we’re in the woods or on the lake, many of us couldn’t give a rip less if another human being even exists at the time.

So whether you are a seasoned, avid outdoorsman or just someone who is so fed up with all the hype and politics of this thing you’re ready to voluntarily let the dog lick you on the lips, allow me to offer some possible “productive pandemic past-times” to help keep you out of the loony bin.

Plant a garden. Even if your thumbs are completely black and you’ve killed every house plant and rose bush you’ve ever owned, try again. Have someone till you up a postage-stamp sized plot somewhere in the back yard, or gather some big flower pots or 5-gallon buckets and plant a mini garden.

Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and green beans are all easy to grow in decent soil in a sunny spot if you water them a couple times a week. A friend told me she visited a local garden center just last week, and the tomato plants were nearly gone already, so don’t wait any longer to go plant shopping.

Go fishing. Even if you don’t know a hook from a stringer, or a bobber from a jig, borrow a fishing rod, buy a dozen nightcrawlers at the local convenience store and find some water.

Places to fish are innumerable. Besides our many state parks and state fishing lakes, every city park has a pond or ponds, private ponds dot the countryside and a little detective work and some driving around will find you one who’s owner will allow you to fish, and there is always the creek or river.

Take an old camp chair, find a shade tree in a deserted spot, skewer a worm on the hook beneath a bobber and cast it out. I’m ready to check myself into the hospital psych ward when I don’t catch fish, but for everyone like me there are dozens like my wife who always take a book along and can somehow enjoy the trip whether a fish is landed or not.

Go to the woods. Now, I don’t mean you have to don full camo or a gilly suit, creep into the woods unnoticed and blend yourself into the foliage so that even God almost looses you. I mean find a secluded spot in Nature and spend a couple hours in your camp chair with your camera, a good book or just watching and listening.

Last night I was turkey hunting in an out-of-the-way spot near the river. Yes, I heard and saw turkeys, but the highlight of the evening was getting serenaded by a pair of barred owls somewhere nearby as their crisp, distinctive “who cooks, who cooks for you” cries echoed through the woods.

Escaping the drone of daily life helps calm us and clear our minds to think clearly about our circumstances, and to see, that for the most part, they’re not that bad.

Spend time with God. We can all speak to, and converse with God as if He’s sitting right beside us, for after all, He really is. Everything we see around us came to be because of Him. He’s also the one who keeps you from floating into outer space as you sit and appreciate Nature.

Thank Him for Nature, thank Him for allowing you to live in this great country, and thanks Him for your freedoms.

Spending time outdoors, whether in your backyard, in the woods, or on the lake is a great way to clear your mind, and trust me, if your mind is like mine, its clears pretty quickly cause’ there’s not much there to start with.

Anyway, Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors!

Steve can be contacted by email at stevenrgilliland@gmail.com.