From a Hilltop

I took a couple extra days to head to Vermont for the first half of October’s writing retreat.  (I’m still there as I begin to pen this article.)

There have been several walks through colorful autumn forest scenes that could’ve been plucked from tourism brochures or, for that matter, Elven fantasy films.

And as I sit with a stunning view, sounds of a busy red squirrel and several chirping birds coming from behind, a soft wind rustles leaves and, on occasion, launches a few on a fluttering, earthbound glide…


I don’t get out into the natural world enough.

That’s not a self-criticism.

It’s a factual statement – and not front-page news.

I’m not sharing this as some sort of outdoors confessional, and I’m not seeking company for this misery.

Truth is, I already know I’m far from alone…

Lemme let you in on some of what’s cooking here:  I’m looking at an image of myself, a generally healthy man heading into his mid-60’s, an avowed lover of the outdoors with a few aches and pains that carry over from the bang-ups one would expect from one nasty bike accident and decades of skiing crashes and other on-snow mishaps…

None of which I’d consider outdoor deal-breakers.

And what’s also true is I’ve created (and chosen, consciously or otherwise) patterns that leave limited space for time outside.

At least up ‘til now.

Silly me.

There’s more than enough information on the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual benefits of spending time beyond walls and ceilings, where there’s simply no place to plug in and distracting devices can be left far behind.

As I mentioned above, I’m far from alone, and therein lies the rub.

While there’s a healthy subset of people who make it a point to get outside regularly, there are many of us – perhaps most of us – who’ve either never developed practices of getting outside or, like me, have let them slip away.

Aside from seasonal allergies and the occasional soaking from a passing (or not so passing) rain, there are few downsides to getting out in the air.  (A Google search for “benefits of being outside” yields a paltry 8,610,000,000 results, just in case you’re wondering…)

If maps and satellite images are any indication, it appears the planet has more out-of-doors area than indoors.  There’s no shortage of outside.

And in case you’re not sure about that, feel free to open a door or window just to check if outside is still there.

(If it isn’t, let me know so I can type up an apology piece…)

Meanwhile, I’m going to jump on a few of those 8.6 billion Google results and do a little reading.  More important, I’m committing to getting outside as often as possible – even if only for brief moments at a time.

After being reminded of how much I’ve been missing, of how my breathing changes and my soul and spirit relax and light up at the same time, I’m of the opinion that any time outside is better than none.  Even if it means getting rained on.

I promise to let you know if I melt!