Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In or Out?

Does it always just come down to being outside?

When I am away from home camping, breathing air that hasn’t been inside walls, I can say, “Today I just want to sit in the sun and read” and birds sing. I can look up and watch the clouds, doze off because the sun is warm, forget where I was on the page, notice some plants I didn’t notice before. Listen to the birds, feel the sun, stretch my legs.

If I were home, I’d remember that the Visa bill was due, the health insurance form had to be filed, the garden weeded and why haven’t I managed that with my “free” time? These thoughts crowd my brain; they drown out the “still, small voice.”

I don’t think it’s just about being away from home. When Sophie was little, I would take her to the playground or on a walk, and everything would become about doing nothing but being with her. No thoughts of extraneous to-do’s because I was being a Good Mother, and that eclipsed all.

Somehow, just plain peace of mind doesn’t have the same momentum in the face of all those to-do’s.

Richard Louv coined the expression “Nature-Deficit Disorder” to originally describe what happens to children separated from the outdoors. Then he extended the conversation to include adults. What if, he asks, we were as immersed in nature as we are in technology?

I don’t have a dog. Friends with dogs have to walk them. I’d returned from London biking everywhere, but when my knee went, so did most of my outdoors. Now my knee is better, but I’m still indoors-heavy and outdoors-light. I’m indoors writing about being indoors-heavy after all. It’s so easy to get out of whack.

What if I had to earn indoor time with outdoor hours?

What if what’s essential isn’t just passing-through-outdoors, but being-in-the-outdoors? Because I’m not sure it’s movement as much as it is fresh air. And I’m not sure it’s fresh air as much as it is paying attention and looking around. Can it happen in the backyard or does it require wildness or greenery or landscape? Do people who own cabins feel the weight of to-do’s even though they’re in their outdoors?

Would I even notice any of this if the weather weren’t particularly lovely right now?

Does it always just come down to the weather? Do happiness and contentment and freedom and peace of mind always just come down to the weather?

I don’t know. Right now, I’m off to reduce my deficit. Quick, while the sun shines.

1 comment:

Sharing Button