Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Henry David Thoreau
It always feels amazing to be home. Back in the woods where I grew up.
For the past two years, my family has taken a weekend in May to retreat from the pre-summer buzz of life, and set up camp in a field in the West Virginia woods.
We seem to find plenty of relaxation there, but also some adventure. This year, my cousin and my parents took us newlyweds on a local tour of the county where I’ve spent most of my life, and it hit me all over again how rare and beautiful a place this is to grow up in.
One of our stops was Beartown State Park, a cool and quiet walk through the woods that led us over deep crevasses and under towering slabs of weather-worn rock. It somehow fills you with the wonderous feeling of knowing that something happened here, but the imagination can hardly grasp the geological scale. The place lives up to its imaginative name–I sure did feel like I was walking through a ghost town where there may have once been a lively community of bears. Although that’s likely fiction, it feels believable enough……
I love places like this, places where signboards can explain the science, but the mind can’t explain the feeling.
And with a rekindled awe, I’ll be searching out other gems like Beartown!
Summer 2020 is starting unlike any we’ve ever known. So much is different, unexpected. This time last year, social media was flooded with ALL the summer bucket lists and vacation plans. Fast forward to this year…. Now what?
Get outside! I PROMISE there are things to do outside that don’t require you to be too close to people AND that you’ll actually enjoy. The fresh air and sunlight will do you soooo much good. If you’re usually indoorsy, this might not appeal to you… but you might be surprised the way nature will open up your mind.
For me, going outside is as essential (if not more) to my mental health as getting enough sleep. It’s great to be cozy at home, but home feels all the cozier if I’ve spent my day outside–hiking, camping, fishing, swimming in the river–or something like a bike ride if I’m in town.
SEE what’s out there.
National Forests are like a second home to me. There are so many hikes that it’s not hard to find one to fit anyone’s activity level. Fishing is abundant, relaxing, and teaches me something new all the time (usually patience). Or I’m just going to the woods to see what I can see.
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
In the forest, I’m free to forget about the me that I work hard to maintain back in town life. It’s my Introvert’s Paradise, with endless sources of inspiration in the flow of the water, the shelter of the trees, the intricacies of every flower and mushroom. A world designed to flourish, where I’m invited to join in the quietly thriving community.
So here’s to a summer of doing more to connect with nature, and less to connect with the Insta likes. Sharing is cool, but let my true motivation be to seek experiences and foster relationships.