Monday Musings: On the Restorative Powers of Nature

We just returned from an altogether too short long weekend in Washington, complete with many a camp fire (the smell of which is still stubbornly clinging to each and every strand of my hair), many a bottle of wine (so that no one grows concerned I won’t mention the actual number), way too many s’mores (why does fire have to transform boring marshmallows into something so much more magical?!?), and a whole lot of time outside.

Aside from last week’s brief trail adventure, it has felt like a long time since I have spent considerable time in nature. And I have missed it.  I have been more irritable, more stressed, more anxious, and generally less pleasant a human to be around.

This weekend we were able to explore some (very moderate) trails and I forgot how the simple act of walking in the woods, surrounded by fifty shades of green (see what I did there?) and sometimes with a little elevation gain for good measure, can uplift the old spirit.

I have always found the act of hiking or walking in nature to be almost meditative in nature. Nature, preferably forest or high mountains, is the only place in which I can truly clear my mind. My shoulders, which are inexplicably and constantly in a state of tension, immediately relax.  My breath transforms from shallow to deep. I feel calm and even my biggest sources of anxieties begin to feel small in relation to the vastness of what surrounds me.

This weekend was no different. After just three days, I feel relaxed. I feel energized. I feel ready to tackle some legit trails next weekend.  My soul is very happy.  Happy Victoria day, everyone!

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