I read an article this week about the benefits of ecotherapy, ie, going outside, unplugged. Really? There's a name for this? Can I get paid to show people how to do this? (When I was a child, I specialized in giving tours of the woods, especially during nesting season, when I conducted birds' nest tours.) I'm only half-serious when I say that I think I've found my next career. Seriously half-serious. (Only a lifetime of experience.)
Taking my own advice, I quite reluctantly put on my shoes and coat and hat and scarf and gloves and trudged out into my back yard this afternoon, despite really loving the sunny warmth of my upstairs room. It was really chilly outside, and these old bones do not have a friend in ice. I had no plan, no chores to attend to, no yardwork that needed doing. My new year's assignment was to poke around in winter's detritus. It felt like I was eight years old again and my mom had sent me outside in the cold to get some fresh air.
But you know what? It was marvelous. Yes, the garden is in ruins. Yes, the ice was abundant, but also unlike any ice I've ever paid much attention to: the saturated earth had heaved upwards, kind of like nature's tilling of the topsoil, and there were vertical columns of ice, stacked one upon another. How is it possible I've spent so much of my life not looking closely at this?
There are some old russet-toned bricks around my fire pit, and each of these was encased in a slick icy sheen. Again, water saturated, I'm guessing, which expanded outwards in the freeze. Curious!
After only 15 or 20 minutes of poking around, my imagination felt ignited, my lungs expanded in the sharply brisk air, and where there had been a musty haze was now a sense of clarity and purpose. And so easy! All it took was to walk out my back door.
Ecotherapy. Ha. Just go outside.