Go Hug A Tree!
A family reunion with Mother Earth
By Rachel Brower, UG Student
Just try something with me for a second. Imagine: The sun is setting, illuminating fiery lines along the edges of the clouds. Out over the ocean you see a group of seagulls making their way home for the night, their cries seeming to echo off of nothing and everything all at once. Wiggling your toes into the dampened sand, you inhale the salty air as the tide gently swirls around your feet. You feel a deep and unexplainable sense of peace as you watch the sun give one last red-orange wink before disappearing behind the waters. For as far as your eye can see, there is nothing but a dark blue abyss. To the left and the right, vast stretches of cooling sand. You realize just how small you are amidst the vast expanses of nature.
See? It’s not just the power of imagery or suggestion. These scenes exist in the recesses of your mind as good and positive memories – times when your body felt right in being among the natural sights, scents, sounds and experiences of the great outdoors. Instead of searching for it, the sense of oneness, peace, and happiness seemed to have found you – a byproduct of being immersed in your surroundings.
Contentment lies not in a magic pill, clocking in more hours at work, an increase in your paycheck, or even sitting at home watching movies in your down time. Sure, these scenarios bring something to the table, but strolling through a park, hiking a nature trail, or even simply stepping out onto your patio for some fresh air and sunshine can work even greater wonders on the human mind and body.
What exactly does nature offer us? Vitamin D is a key player, with its numerous health benefits that are still, to this day, being uncovered. A thriving warrior against cancer, obesity, inflammation, hormonal problems, and overall ill-health, this natural vitamin offered by the sun itself continues to show signs of mood elevation and strengthening of our immune systems. A 2009 study that appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health states that the closer you live to nature, the healthier of a person you are likely to be.
Consider this an inspirational challenge. Do what you can – no, do what you must – to make time for mother earth. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous, break the pattern of daily life, gather some friends, leave the technology behind, and truly escape to the beauty that lies in the world that surrounds you.