Historically I was never one for nature. I loved all the creature comforts that AC, a bathroom with running water and a refrigerator had to offer. I wasn’t the kid that never went outside, but I wasn’t the kid that asked to go camping either. Camping in my world usually consisted of pitching the tent in my parents backyard. I would then send my sister in for additional snacks and feel comforted by the street lamp on the corner. To this day, I hate having a cloud of bugs buzz around my face.
As I grew into adulthood I started identifying and implementing my own mindfulness. I found that nature provided the sense of quiet I needed to be successful at stilling my mind. There was something about the hush of the tress paired with the energy of animals that created ease. My favorite run to this day is about a two-week period where the lilac bushes and the crabapple trees bloom all at once. The smells! Oh the smells!
The average American spent 4.2 hours per day using mobile devices plus another three hours watching T.V. in a day between 2019-2021. We are now looking at research that indicates that a disengagement from nature is associated with increase rates of obesity, heart disease and mental health issues. At the same time , research has shown that nature can improve vision, memory and even help with concentration and stress relief. Two hours a week in nature can make us happier, boost overall health and just 15 minutes can reduce levels of the dreaded stress hormone cortisol.
If I haven’t convinced you yet-hear me out. I’m still a city dweller at heart. I drive out to Fontenelle Forrest, Neal Woods or Hitchcock Nature Center and then drive home after a few hours. I’m still terrified of using the bathroom in “nature”. You will oftentimes find me walking my dog up in Little Italy or Little Bohemia-not far from coffee, home or other creature comforts. You don’t have to own a tent, go to Colorado or take up fishing to find and receive all that nature has to offer. Spend time out on a patio. Hunt for a bird’s nest with your kids and maybe, just maybe venture out to Hitchcock or another nature center. I did, and I can tell you, it was worth it.
Take the bug spray. Get outside. Love on some nature so it can love on you back.