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The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.
One of my favorite things about recording this podcast is the chance to get expert advice and insight straight from the source. It’s an excuse to talk to people whose lived experience I value, to present them with the questions I have about our journey through this world, and walk away with invaluable assistance.
And that’s how I came to find myself laying flat on the ground, face and nose buried in the dirt in the middle of a work day on a Tuesday.
It happened like this. Instead of languishing in front of my computer screen unable to concentrate and getting sucked into social media as my brain searched for an escape for a few minutes, I took the advice of several guests and gave myself a 15 minute walk instead. I knew I was likely to spend 15 minutes sucked into social media, so why not trade it in for some sunshine, even on a cool, crisp day?
And so I layered up, put on boots, called the dogs and headed into the woods.
The sun was coming down between the branches just so, hitting the ground and the golden leaves that were spread across it. I was tromping down the path, thinking about how lovely everything was, when the thought crossed my mind: I wonder how these leaves feel?
The question reminded me of some advice a former guest and expert in rewilding, Micah Mortali, gave in his episode. He said if you want to connect with nature, try taking off your shoes and standing barefoot. When he said that it was cold and snowy outside my house, and I remember thinking something along the lines of “fat chance.”
But as I looked at the sun on that cool morning shining down on the ground, and at the leaves I thought well, I wonder what would happen if. …
And I stopped. I peeled off my boots and socks, and I planted my two feet on the cool ground and leaves. They were soft and damp under my feet. I took a few steps, feeling them slide as I walked forward down the path, around the curve. The sun, still shining just so, was warm on the ground.
And I felt like twirling. So I did. And I felt like skipping. So I did that too. And I wondered what the grass felt like, so I walked in it. And I wondered how the ground and the leaves smelled.
And so I laid down flat and found out. It smelled like rich growing things — spring and fall all rolled into one.
I absolutely looked ridiculous during this, but no one saw me so it just didnt matter. And 15 minutes after I started I was home, planted at my desk as if nothing at all had happened. Except everything did happen. I took 15 minutes and found my place in the world again.
This week I took a step back to rest and took myself on a little weekend get away to a small ski town, still off season because it hasnt snowed quite yet. It was just what the doctor ordered. You can see pictures from my weekend away on Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram. And I want to see your photos, too. Tag me #humansoutside365. And until next time, we’ll see you out there.