Growing up in a large metropolitan area, camping wasn’t something my family did on a regular basis. I didn’t get into camping until I was a teenager, when we would use it as an excuse to stay out overnight with our friends. One of my earliest camping memories was laying in the back of a pickup truck with pillows and blankets at night. The air was crisp and fresh on my face. The stars were bright and infinite. Only the sound of crickets and wind could be heard. I felt exposed, yet comforted at the same time. A feeling so new, so pure, so exhilarating. That’s the night I fell in love with nature.
As adults, we’re often preoccupied with what we’re supposed to do, and lose sight of what we’re able to do. I sleep in a protected house, in a comfortable bed, with temperature control, and modern plumbing. I’m extremely grateful for these conveniences. However, there’s something about sleeping outside that still gives me all the “feels”. Nature evokes all of our senses. Its open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It’s healthy, physically and mentally. It shares without bias. It makes you feel alive.
Since I’ve been working from home, due to COVID, there are days I’ve found myself never getting outside. I wake up, make a little breakfast, sit at my laptop, do some laundry, watch a little TV, eat lunch, get back to work, prep dinner, and before I know it, it’s dark out. I get crabby. I’ve lost sight of nature’s gifts.
The company I work for was promoting a “virtual walk” for mental wellness. We had a virtual kick-off call, and then scheduled an hour off from our work calendars to walk on our own. I thought about walking the dog to the mailbox and around the block a few times. Then it occurred to me… You’ll be outside in nature, and all you can think of is the mailbox and the block? That’s when I took note of what was around me. The sky was blue, the flowers were bright, birds were all around, the dog was happy, and the weather was never better. I cannot tell you if I went to the mailbox or around the block that day. I just remember the nature I experienced. Getting outside and changing my mindset changed my entire day.
Nature is readily available to all of us. We all have great memories of it. It’s time to find ourselves in nature again. As you’re reading this blog, take note of the windows and doors around you. What would you see if you looked out them? How would you feel if you opened them? What would you hear? Today, get lost in nature. Even if it starts with a scheduling a virtual walk, opening a door or window, or camping in the back of a truck.