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if ever I become a doctor

If ever I become a doctor, perhaps I will prescribe things like camping, hiking, tree-climbing, mountains, and lakes.

Maybe I will give speeches about turning off the television of an evening, any evening, all evenings, and sitting in one’s yard with a fire pit and a dog, maybe a guitar or harmonica, and something refreshing to drink, and watching the sun go down while one’s children pedal on bikes through the mounting twilight, squeezing the last drops of joy and speed and noise from the day.

I will write papers about the healing effects of walking through old, towering forests, noting the thick green lichen that covers the trunks like carpet, and I will expound on the wisdom of being constantly surrounded by fresh air and light and wind. I will list various kinds of peace that can be learned from clams and fireflies and grasshoppers.

And recommend that one experience the sudden thrill of unexpectedly getting one’s pants soaked in the river.

If ever I am responsible for the healing of minds and souls and bodies, the bulk of my research will be done in mysterious laboratories of photosynthesis and lunar eclipses and waterfalls. I will forego placebos for wonder, beauty, and flashlight tag. I will do experiments on my subjects with devices like binoculars and climbing gear and kayaks.

My patients will take their meals under the stars, in caves, and in tree houses. Their therapy will involve microscopes and telescopes and rope ladders.

Perhaps I am too simple minded to think that these sorts of things could ever cure human maladies like depression, insomnia, lethargy, high blood pressure, selfishness, obesity, and diabetes.

Or perhaps we have all grown too complex for our own good.


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