One Foot

One Foot

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Good Day in Nature

Eagle Watch
I have read the books of author Richard Louv for several years and confess they have had significant impact upon me.  Last Child in the Woods points to what should be the obvious connection between childhood health and the benefits of outdoor play. I thought he was right-on in promoting exploration and fun in nature as a standard part of a child’s life.
            Louv recently expanded this theme to include the needs of adults. The Nature Principle is a convincing presentation of research and ideas about the richness one receives by being with nature, even for short time periods.  When I read this book, I recommended it to many others.  Tied to my desk for years, I knew in my gut that the world outside the window was where I was meant to be.
            Now that I have some free time, I try to structure new experiences in nature.  Of course, I  go on a daily walk, but that isn’t a new experience.  A good friend who certified with me in the master naturalist program agreed to a pact that once monthly, we would have a “nature day.”  On that day we would pick an activity and destination in nature and simply “go play.” 
            This month, we chose an Audubon “Eagle Watch” at a nature center about 40 miles from our homes.  The center manages a few miles of river sandbars along the water which are a good vantage point for eagle viewing.
            That day we met about twenty new nature lovers, got some very good photographs, had a good lunch and still had time to catch up on the news.  This was a good example of a travel destination that we “always meant to see, but never got around to.”  Now I can say that we should have gone there sooner.  The nature center is a wonderful resource for groups and the hiking trails are excellent.   Of course, we could choose many local nature sites as well, but we like the challenge of a once-a-month trip.
            I am convinced new outdoor experiences are essential as you age. That day was brisk and a bit windy, but the experience made me feel young and my thinking was clear.  Lacking the muse to strike a line of poetry, I borrowed the following.  I think it fits.  Of course, its exactly what I meant to say.

           I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses
                         put in order.        
                                                                    - John Burroughs

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