“Out in this, God’s beautiful world, there is everything waiting to heal lacerated nerves, to strengthen tired muscles, to please and content the soul that is torn to shreds with duty and care….nature study is not a trouble; it is a sweet, fresh breath of air…She who opens her eyes and her heart nature-ward even once a week finds nature study….a delight and an abiding joy.”
Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Botsford-Comstock
I was having a terrible day. Nothing was going right and I was in a very foul mood. My teenage son noticed my frustrations and suggested we take a mid-day, middle of the week hike to the river. It was a hot September day and the sun was blazing down and the last thing I thought I wanted to do was to go outside. He reminded me that I always feel better after getting some fresh air so I jumped in the car with Mr. A and Kona dog, still quite grumpy.
We chatted a bit on the way to the river but I continued feeling the effects of working too much and having some looming deadlines. As we rounded the bend and pulled into the parking lot, I realized that I was actually starting to feel bit better. We hiked down the familiar trail to the river through oaks and pines, smelling the hot oak leaves in the baking noontime sun. I could hear the river now as it traveled over the rocks and past the gravel shore. Kona heard it too and she got very excited. Swimming in the river is one of her favorite things to do. It wasn’t long before she had found a stick for us to throw in the water for her to retrieve…her favorite game of all.
We found a spot to sit and dip our feet in, watch the water roll by, and soak in some sunshine and fresh air.
I was feeling much better by now.
Before long the boy and the dog were off exploring this and that as I enjoyed the view.
- The color of the rocks in the sparkling water.
- The fresh smell of the air as it comes over the river.
- The freezing cold temperature of the river water.
- Birds flying overhead, along the water, and between the trees. I glimpsed a woodpecker and heard a crow.
- The lapping of the water on the rocks.
- Slippery moss at the water’s edge.
I was glad for the reminder from my teen. Yes, even I need to be reminded of the healing and refreshing aspects of just getting outside and breathing the air. I took a photo to remind me of this day, spending time with Mr. A, knowing that he soon will not be around to remind me to get outside even when I don’t feel like it and the weather is hot or cold or wet or whatever.
Just get outside for a few minutes if you are having a bad day. You will find your smile again too.