The unfair heat of summer has just about come and gone here in Idaho. Teachers are back to work, students are back to whatever it is they all do, organized fall sports, clubs and activities are in full swing, and family routines are hunkering in for a new school year. Self-included.
For those of you who look for benefit ratio analyses I would argue that while it can take extra organization and planning it is absolutely worth it to Get Out and Go. And I argue even more so if you have kids.
Read on to see 6 reasons why I support Getting Out and About in Nature!
While nature ‘en vivo’ does not present itself quite as intensely as the Discovery Channel, you will see many animals that you just might not see at home (other than in said books and nature documentaries)
Just that last week I went camping I saw: a herd of elk, four deer, three snakes, a gazillion baby froggies, a big toad, about four different species of dragonflys, fish, osprey, bald eagles, an array of chipmunks, ground squirrels, robins, crows, and a bobcat (which admitedly was kept as a pet, that’s another story).
5. Night sky!
Whether you are moon gazing, starwatching, constellation counting, or keeping an eye out for shooting stars and meteors, it’s all good. If you have little ones in tow, do as my friend Wayne does and give them glow-in-the-dark necklaces or wands to keep track of them.
4. Nature Hikes!
How else will you and your kids be able to find the animals? I enjoyed a very pleasant four mile round trip hike last month to Crystal Mountain [from Burgdorf Hot Springs]. Some things I enjoyed noticing? The designs of roots and tree bark, tiny blooming flowers, red berries that looked juicy and delicious but I wasn’t sure if they were safe to consume or not, the sound of a trickling stream that was impossible to see below all the forest floor plants, and the dusty tromp-tromp cadence of our shoes hitting the steady incline of a nice single-track trail.
3. Fresh Air!
I have a theory. Are you ready?
Fresh, clean air reduces our risk of cancer.
Now wait, I know what you’re thinking: but hear me out. As we breathe, of course the air goes into our lungs. From our lungs the oxygen (and other constituents) absorbs into our blood. Freshly oxygenated blood circulates throughout our bodies, thereby energizing and cleansing our bodies from the inside out. Therefore, it would only stand to reason that fresh air-close to the sources of oxygen suck as trees and plants-would rejuvenate more than “city air”.
Go ahead, you know you want to take a deep breath right now just because it feels right.
2. Change Your Routine!
Research has shown that most people are highly habitual (again, self included). The main variable is that our habits from one person to the next are different. Think about your morning routine for example, or your daily rituals, and you’ll start to see what I’m talking about.
While habits can be good for us, often serving as the structure for our busy work weeks, changing our routines can be just as good for us. Research shows that doing something unique or learning a new skill keeps our brains and reflexes sharp, so why not start (or refresh) with a weekend getaway to the nearest natural area?
Weekend getaways don’t have to be expensive, either. If you already own camping gear, you are ready to go! You can also do a little research on line and in no time be ready for a two night camping trip with your friends and/or family. If you feel that you aren’t ready to do it on your own, research your community
for information on groups that do things you want to do, and contact them.
and, 1. Because Life Is Short.
Busy. Sports. School. Where is the time for meandering along a lakeshore, or a riverbank, or a seaside beach? Our “modern” culture has trained us into beleiving this lifestyle is acceptable because “everyone is doing it”. But is it? Are you content? Being in nature and getting out away from crowds, technology, and our daily routines can be extremely healthy and rejuvenating.
Sticking your bare feet in some cool water or digging your toes into sand or soft dirt can refresh your connection to the planet. Allow yourself to be mezmerized by the patterns of whitewater in a mountain river or amazed at the mirrored reflections on a glassy lake surface, or appreciative of the ripple mark patterns on sand in a river bottom. All these things and more create natural serenity and reconnection with inner peace.