Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stopping Nature Deficit Disorder

This past Sunday I spent about 10 minutes standing next to my bed feeling pulled in two directions. The sun was shining in, reflected off the beauty of snow. I knew the temperature was in the low 30s, probably for the last time in at least ten days. I had not had my snow shoes on for three years (January 2011) and felt isolated from the wonder of a wonderful winter landscape.

But that bed kept calling. Nap time! Nap time!

With a burst of energy I got out my insulated underwear and got ready to head out the door.

I was not in the least bit sorry that I had won the battle against the Nap.

Naturally I went to my favorite location- Whitewater State Park. It was actually relatively "busy". I saw about 10 other people out snowshoeing and one cross country skier. It was not crowded, just busy. The portion of the river by the trail I was on was mostly frozen over until I got to a couple of the places with more active water.

I have also heard that robins don't actually migrate for the winter. I now have proof that at least some robins still hang around these northern climes all year round.

(Actually, they do migrate to find food, not to escape the cold. If there is enough food where they are, they don't migrate. Pretty good thinking, if you ask me.)

I chased them away when I first came mushing up, but after I stood still for a few minutes they returned.

I am a firm believer that there is a syndrome which can be called Nature Deficit Disorder (Richard Louv- the human costs of alienation from nature). It can cause great difficulties for us if we do not get out in the real air and honest sunshine with external exercise.

The 600+ calories I worked off in an hour or so on a two mile snowshoe expedition felt far more satisfying than the average indoor stationary bike riding I have been doing. (Note: Thanks to that indoor riding,though, I was able to easily do the two miles on the snowshoes! Felt great, in fact.)

I was elated by what I was seeing. I was uplifted by the drive over to Whitewater through miles of fields white for winter. I had not realized how much I had missed this until I was actually doing it.

I no longer feel as boxed in, out of touch with the world I am surrounded by. There is a freedom of soul that comes from being "out there" putting an end, for this week at least, to my winter Nature Deficit.

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