Scientific studies aside, getting outdoors rejuvenates me. The more, the better. Well, within reason. I draw the line at sleeping in a tent unless absolutely necessary. Too many traumatic associations of tent-camping with toddlers keep that as a no-go for me.
Here’s a taste of my yesterday dose of wilderness:
Abandoned cabin at Pothole Ranch on BC’s Gang Ranch – second largest ranch in Canada
“Mom, we need to go do something in the wilderness,” said my oldest daughter, who’s been working hard as a supervisor and safety coordinator for road construction all week.
“I know,” I said. “I’ve been so busy. But I am going to have to just make it happen.”
“Yes, that’s when we need it the most,” she said. “I read a sign that said we should get out in nature for at least 20 minutes a day. And on days when we’re really busy, we need to get out even more.”
It is true. I get so buried by the “gotta-do’s” in my life that I run out of Steen:
the cooking, the cleaning, the grocery restocking and the other errands in town;
the appointments for various family members;
the overseeing of my younger children and their learning and socializing;
the paperwork and the organization of it;
the bill management and everything finance-related;
the scheduled and also the unexpected;
the prioritizing of urgencies, and the abandoning of priority to the emergencies.
And that’s not even mentioning the book project I try to squeeze in every day. Those documents are always open on my computer, in front of which I sit for a few minutes at a time, several times a day. Some days I only add a few lines. Some days I edit what was already there. Some days I can’t squeeze in a moment or a word.
I often leave my phone on a charger where I cannot see or hear it. Almost every time I check it, there are messages. I have lost friends because of my inability to sit down and return calls. I try to at least fire a text message or email in reply where possible.
My home is surrounded by wilderness. All I need to do is step outside and I hear birds singing. Trees and other foliage grow wild everywhere I look in my yard and beyond it. And the air is fresh and clean.
I walk in nature every chance I get, even if it is a few minutes to see the sky. I go for longer walks when able, alone or with family members, hiking up hills or meandering along forest trails; and breaking up the walk with sprints to get in some higher intensity intervals for increased health benefits is a nice way to spice up a walk. Outright longer runs are satisfying, too.
And every so often, I get to expand the radius of my wilderness enjoyment. Yesterday’s trip to Farwell Canyon, BC, meant 2-1/2 hours of driving to reach that spot, but I was with three of my kids, listening to music in my son’s Jeep while he drove, laughing, talking, and enjoying the views. The journey was as much a part of the destination as was the first step outside onto silent ground.
Water running over rocks. Sandstone hoodoos. Blue skies bedecked with white clouds. Grass, trees, and many more greens than I can name.
I need it.
I love it.
I thank God for it.
I look forward to more of it, in abundance, never fading or decaying, in the place my Lord Jesus has prepared for me, which is far better than even the best taste of wilderness this world has shown me.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)