Ahh, summer. The sizzling sunshine. The cool breeze. The glorious outdoors just waiting to be explored. The allure of nature in the summertime is almost too strong to ignore. If you have plans to enjoy the vast wilderness but lack the basic knowledge required to survive the fickle b*tch that is Mother Nature, then do yourself a favor and follow the sage teachings of the greatest outdoorsman to ever live, Mr. Ron Ulysses Swanson (Nick Offerman).
On Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson was a man’s man. Burly, mustachioed, a fan of woodworking and fine liquor, and a lover of nature. Ron valued a life free of laws, people, and government. He found contentment outside, living as man was always meant to live — wild, unrestricted, and free to kill whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.
If you want to test your instincts and your ability to withstand the rigors of living without the creature comforts, then read on.
Enjoy nature. Don’t waste time trying to recreate it.
Fact: God’s greatest gift to man is the outdoors. For Ron Swanson, the wilderness represents peace, freedom, and the opportunity to reconnect with our truest selves, far away from the laws of civil society and the overreaching arm of the government. Unfortunately, some find bliss from gazing at other people’s pictures of nature on Facebook and Instagram instead of actually enjoying it for themselves. Don’t be this person. Get outside and use your two eyes and your brain instead to process the glory of the great outdoors.
Be willing to look your dinner in the eyes.
Back in simpler times, man hunted and foraged for his food. We worked for what we ate and gave thanks to nature for providing it. Sure, Ron Swanson can occasionally be found at the Food ‘n Stuff buying slabs of thick, red meat to roast on the grill. On most occasions, however, he prefers to consume his protein the old fashion way: by taking its life while contemplating the circle of life. He tried to impart this lesson to his coworkers at their annual Employee Appreciation Barbecue by having them meet their meat, a pig named Tom. They weren’t evolved enough to understand, but here’s hoping you are.
Fishing is the sport of the gods.
If you’re like Ron Swanson, you’d never spend energy contorting your body into unnatural positions in order to achieve “serenity” by way of yoga. The only thing that brings true tranquility, to you, is a rod, a line, and a body of water stocked with dumb, cold-blooded animals just waiting to be hooked. Fishing is the wilderness’ yoga. It’s relaxing, but you still get to kill something.
A canvas sheet is your best friend.
When introducing his young Pawnee Rangers to the outdoors, Ron gives his boys a gift. This gift wasn’t puppies, craft time, or useless badges like Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) bestowed upon her Pawnee Goddesses. No, this gift had purpose. According to Ron Swanson, every survivalist worth their salt knows that a canvas sheet — the most versatile object known to man — is the only thing one needs when setting off into the great unknown. Use it for shelter. Use it for shoes. Use it for sails if you like, but don’t you ever f*cking use it to make art.
Cultivate a musk.
When planning how you’ll survive in the dangerous free for all that is Mother Nature, there’s one thing you shouldn’t pack: deodorant. As shown in his Pyramid of Greatness, Ron Swanson believes that a man’s natural, musky scent is a deterrent to predators and puts your opponent on notice. So, by all means, sweat like a pig and refuse to practice basic personal hygiene. It might just save your life.
Find the quiet.
Are words necessary?