Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard. – Standing Bear, Lakota
One of the many things my husband and I have in common is that we truly enjoy and appreciate nature. We like to canoe, hike, snorkel, snowboard and always enjoy the beauty of a sunset, sunrise, fall foliage and the sunshine glistening off a stream. It brings us a peaceful feeling and is invigorating to us both. However, with the demands of everyday life, work, family, etc, we do not get to enjoy being outdoors nearly as much as we would like. As my husband says, we have to MAKE time for our nature outings. Put it on the calendar and just do it. Forget the other chores and things we could (should?) be doing at home. We need to be outside for minds and our hearts. This weekend, we were reminded of how important it is to be one with nature and all it has to offer.
On Saturday, we went snow tubing with my husband’s best friend, his son, and our nieces. The adults’ ages ranged from 9-39, but once we started walking in the snow, we somehow turned back into 10 year-olds. A light, powdery snow had fallen the night before making the conditions really great. We got our tubes, went to the top of the hill and immediately, unknowingly, turned back the clocks. We went down as singles first, my husband, his friend and son running as fast as they could and belly-flopping on the tube careening down the hill. I and the two girls were a bit more cautious – at first. We used our legs and got a push to propel us forward and then down the hill, snow blowing into our faces and squealing most of the way down. Next, we all decided to get daring and tie the tubes together to go in doubles. And then, the races began. We measured the winners by speed and distance, switching partners and trying different lanes to see which one was the fastest. Even the attendants were in on it. (By the way, my husband and niece now hold the “land speed record” for distance. They cleared the skid mats meant to slow tubers down and drifted all the way to the black flimsy fence, the farthest a tuber could go.)
Despite the shining sun, the air was cold and there was a slight wind that stung our face, but we did not care. Somehow, the worries of everyday life blew away with that wind and when we finally took a break after three hours, our hearts were softer and our minds felt lighter. We settled into the lodge, drank some creamy hot chocolate and reflected back on our day. There was an amazing rejuvenating feeling that we had not felt in a looonnnggg time. That is going to change.
I do not think any of us are ever too young or too old to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of Mother Nature. And, most of the time, outside activities bring out the kid in all of us whether it be snow tubing, hiking or playing on the beach.
I don’t want our hearts to even begin to grow hard again. I am heading to the calendar right now to schedule another day with Mother Nature and hope you’ll give it a try as well!