I had no intention of going hunting with Robin Hood last weekend, but circumstances changed and there we were, driving towards the Gila National Forest on Friday night. Gear was stacked in the back of the truck with a strategy to rival that of a Tetris tower. Ann was curled up on a blanket, and “Where the Red Fern Grows” floated over the airwaves.
Note: Do not listen to “Where the Red Fern Grows” on a road trip without a HEFTY supply of napkins/tissues/shirtsleeves. Lesson learned.
Anyway, I was mildly grumpy because I had been planning on getting lots of things done around the house while my husband chased deer, bear, and assorted other critters. Now all of that productivity would have to be shuffled, rearranged, and wedged into the schedule at some nebulous later date. Bah.
But really, how long can anyone stay grumpy in the face of outdoor adventure?
Nature has a way of making life better. It doesn’t always inspire ecstasy or wild inspiration, but at the very least, it soothes ruffled feathers. Why is this? Is it the emotional release of getting out of town and escaping everyday life for a little while? Is it being in a place where the trees vastly outnumber the people? Or is it just all that fresh air pouring into the lungs?
Who knows? But evidence is everywhere.
In the running community, trail running keeps increasing in popularity — especially ultramarathons, where folks spend hours and hours traversing courses lined not with cheering spectators and congested aid stations, but with trees and streams and the occasional startled animal. Just a coincidence?
Urban forests are a trending topic, as are outdoor yoga classes, outdoor schools — you name it, people are scurrying outside and only using their phones to take pictures of the scenery around them.
Myself included. Surrounded by rolling hills, walking on dirt and rocks, staring up at a ceiling of fluttering aspen leaves, my mood improved. We hunted and ate around a campfire and played with the dog (who was in blissful sniffing overdrive). We poked around a cave, which was exciting, especially given the tracks right outside it:
Needless to say, we didn’t linger very long!
It’s all well and good to have plans and be a busy worker bee, but sometimes throwing those plans right out the window is the best thing to do. I’m slowly…slowly learning this.