We call them outdoor pursuits, activities or sports, but whatever we call them is secondary to why we do them.
We strive for those moments when it all comes together and everything just feels right and good.
I don't usually give much thought to why I go outdoors and do the things I do, but sometimes it's good to reflect on what really motivates me to be out there.
It's easy to get touchy-feely about this, but you and your buddies probably aren't going to get all melodramatic and have a group hug next time you're out fishing.
So I will just embrace it.
Picture this: You're outside and the sun feels like a tonic after the gray, freezing winter. The landscape is bursting with new life and that energy radiates from deep within.
Your body is bathed in warmth, but it's not the oppressive heat you know will eventually come during summer.
The joy may simply come from the ease of your comfort. You're not hot, cold, stressed, anxious or aggravated. You're just living a moment that's pure and kind.
Those moments can take many forms, but they all have one thing in common: You're outdoors and witnessing the miracle of spring.
Maybe you're fishing, and every cast brings infinite promise. You know a fish lurks beneath the surface. It's invisible, but it's as plain in your mind as the snow-capped mountain you see in the distance.
It's the reason you got up early and made a long drive that seemed more like a happy prelude than a chore.
Or maybe you could care less if a fish takes your bait. You're content to watch the sparkling water and hear the motor hum as you write a cursive wake across the surface of an emerald lake.
Maybe you're hiking a brown ribbon of dirt amidst a green carpet of new growth draped across a steep hillside.
Your legs didn't magically get stronger over winter, and the hills certainly didn't get any lower, but every step purges the winter doldrums out of your system and renews your soul.
Not that all about winter is gloomy. You may get that same bliss carving a beautiful turn on an untracked mountain after a fierce winter snowstorm.
But the contrast between winter and spring is so abrupt, and being the sun-loving, warm-blooded creatures we are, no matter how much we enjoy winter, spring is when our spiritual batteries get recharged.
Your moment is waiting, and all you have to do is open the door and walk into the light.
Maybe your outing is no more than sitting in some green grass enjoying a cold beer while your dog - ears pinned, legs churning and body gliding - runs full throttle until it spins 180 degrees and continues with the same vigor and no destination in mind.
Your dog gets it.
Spring doesn't have to be about achieving something grandiose; it's about remembering your pulse is actually a beating heart.
If you're smirking in cynicism and dredging up dark sarcasm, feel free. It won't bother me.
My days will still be brighter, my steps a little lighter and each breath of fresh air a little sweeter.
Spring is time to unleash your inner Zen hippie.
Roger Phillips: 377-6215, Twitter: @rogeroutdoors
Statesman outdoor writers Pete Zimowsky and Roger Phillips alternate columns on Thursday. Look for Zimo next week.