I had a breakthrough moment this morning as I got ready for my run. I have been reading The Nature Principle by Richard Louv, and he describes people as going out to nature for their exercise, and then dulling their senses by blocking their ears with Ipods or other media. When I read this, I realized that I was guilty of that myself. Instead of going on my early morning runs with ears and mind wide open, I have been building a barrier between myself and the restoration that being outside brings by listening to podcasts or a playlist while I run.
I have known for a long time that being outside is restorative for me, but since the days have been shorter and the weather colder, I have been lacking motivation when I go outside for my long runs. I decided today to try running without any noise in my ears again, although I took along my music and earphones “just in case.” I had a great run. I didn’t see any wonderful wildlife, and the birds were not singing, but I was able to listen to the movement of the air, and listen to my breathing as a way to improve my running. I also was able to concentrate my attention on some work problems that needed resolved.
I will be reviewing The Nature Principle here soon, and telling you more about my thoughts on nature deficit disorder. In the meantime, let me share some other ideas we have used lately to get outdoors:
- Walking when the moon is full. We went on a moonlit walk on Monday at one of our favorite walking paths. The kids spotted Casseopeia and Orion, and we talked about Betelgeuse and Rigel and why some stars are red and others are blue. We also scared up a few ducks — literally, they were very scared.
- Hiking to look at ice at some of our favorite spots.
- Lunch at the park. This is wonderful because the park is empty this time of year, so the kids can have the equipment to themselves if they want, or wander around playing hide and seek or other invented games. I take along a blanket to wrap up in(along with my coat) and a book, and enjoy half an hour of winter sunbathing while the kids run around and enjoy themselves. This is especially wonderful if you have hot soup to take for lunch.
Hope you are able to be outdoors a little this winter. Do you have a suggestion for us? Please leave a comment.