Monday, September 29, 2008

Go Outside!

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.
-Frank Lloyd Wright


I am going to be a high school student for another month or so and I have recently (well, since last summer) moved to a house just across a park from the school. So I walk. In the winter it sucked to walk across that field of grass crunchy with frost, but spring has begun to show its face here in Idaho and now the sun is even almost rising when I leave in the morning! When I wake up it is nothing but darkness, but as I go around getting ready the sky turns from black to a dark purple to a lighter shade of indigo by the time I get outside.

This morning was particularly lovely. There were dark gray clouds set against the lighter gray of the morning sky. They swirled around the horizon and slowly wove in and out of each other. Despite the cold wind, I walked to school slower than usual today and when I got to the door of the school I felt better than I have in a long time.

Remembering how good I felt in the morning, when I came home I walked purposefully slow again. I even stopped and laid down in the grass. The clouds had conglomerated more since the morning and I knew it was going to rain soon. The world seemed hushed. The wind was cold, but not bitingly so.

I know how nature, how simply being outside, can completely alter your mood. You don’t have to take my word for it either, in fact, I’m pretty sure you are remembering a time when you felt truly at peace outside just now. If you weren’t, do so now. I also know that not everyone lives directly next to a gigantic field of grass, so I hope this post will help those who do want to feel that cathartic moment of oneness more often, daily even.

1. Plan- You probably wont just happen across a beautiful scape of untouched nature. You need to plan to go outside whenever you can. For me, I get my time outdoors by walking to and from school and also from walking the dogs. Maybe you have a garden that has been neglected, or maybe you have always wanted a garden. Maybe you have an expensive membership to a gym that could be traded for a completely free lap around the nearest public park. Whatever it is you want to do outside, you need to write it down on your calendar, on your to-do list, or whatever system you use. It’s far too easy to not have time.

2. Take a friend- Everything is more fun with your friends. When trying to become more attuned to nature it can be awkward. It is much easier to enjoy a beautiful day if you have someone there you can talk about it with.

3. Go alone- Don’t always take a friend though. As sometimes they can influence the way you see something. For instance, maybe your friend is waxing poetic on the color of the grass, when you would much rather get a closer look to that perfect, untouched spider web. This is supposed to be a personal experience.

4. Eat outside- This is possibly the easiest way to enjoy nature. Eating is fun, and any excuse for a barbecue is a good one.

5. Sleep with the window open- It can be uncomfortable being outside at night, especially if you live in a potentially dangerous area. But nighttime is absolutely as beautiful as daytime. When the weather permits, crack open your bedroom window before jumping in bed. The breeze will keep your face cool as your body cuddles in the warmth of the blankets, and when you wake up you will feel more refreshed and at peace. I promise.

Some more:

* Take your shoes off when walking in the grass.
* Take dogs out for walks individually.
* Collect attractive rocks and arrange them in your home, bring the outside in.
* Throw open the curtains.
* Leave the front door open in the summer.
* Wake up earlier and watch the sunrise over coffee.
* Roll down the window in the car instead of using the AC.
* Make a snowman with your kids.
* Try to hear music in the wind. I swear, if you listen closely there are notes.
* Take your hair out of the ponytail if it’s breezy.

There are countless others. I’m sure you can think of some. Make your own list. Write it down in your agenda. Go outside. Now.

Then come back so I can say “I told you so.”

Wishing you a wonderful day,


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