I love hiking. I’m not hardcore about it—I stick to trails and always have my map handy. My Eagle Scout husband likes to tell me about portaging canoes and rucking through Philmont, especially when I get excited about being at a park that has indoor plumbing and a nature center. I am SO not hardcore.
But no matter, because I love being out in the woods. There’s always a moment in the hike when I feel, almost like a physical sensation, some of the tension roll off me. My breath deepens, my head clears, and I’m THERE. And I feel like I’m part of all that wildness and beauty. It feels like being home.
Even with all that, I know it’s all too easy to disconnect from nature. Commuting, working, the lure of the screen—they all make getting out and getting away just a little bit harder. They’re also the things that make getting out even more necessary.
So much can be found in the natural world: a sense of rhythm, a feeling of belonging, a chance to observe the quiet way the rest of the world keeps on going without human interference. It gives us a sense of place and perspective. And it puts us in touch with wild creatures, allowing us to see them as they are.
One of my favorite hiking memories was at Whitefish Dunes in Door County. It was going to start raining any second, so my husband and I were hurrying a bit. Suddenly a red-headed woodpecker flew out of the trees, made a big circle around us, and landed on a tree trunk just a few feet from us. Everything went still as we checked each other out. Rain, hurrying, everything else was completely forgotten in that moment of seeing and being seen. It was fleeting, as is everything in nature, and that made it all the more powerful.
Nature heals us, and being in it helps humans form a little bit stronger connection with our home. That’s good for everyone. Get out there this summer, turn off the screens, and just walk. Then take a moment to pause and listen to yourself being part of the world.
To get in on some of that goodness this month, please join Anne and me for our Move & Meditate workshop at Devil's Lake State Park. We'll hike, breathe, meditate, and flow. Get the details here.