I failed to see the blaze somewhere along the way, and when I finally looked up to see where I was I didn’t recognize my surroundings.
If you’ve ever accidentally walked off a trail in the woods you’ll know this feeling. You think you’re following a clearly marked path, only to come to a grove of trees, plants, thick shrubbery, or dense forest where the “path” clearly ends. You pause for a moment to find the trail; you look around thoughtfully; you’re not sure when you left the well-worn path, but you’re definitely not on it now. So you start trying to retrace your steps. You thought you knew the way so you weren’t using your GPS and you don’t have a compass and map. How long have you been walking off-trail? How far back? Which way? As you first try one route back, then another… they all look the same. You’re lost.
I grew up hiking, camping, skiing, rock climbing and generally spending time in the outdoors; but over time those interests took a back seat to other pursuits. First drugs and alcohol; then family; then work; then more drugs and alcohol. Before I knew it, things that shouldn’t matter were all that mattered. I was lost: no compass, no map. I’ve lost more than a few things that should have mattered to me. And while I wouldn’t yet say I’m found, I would say that I think I’ve found a way, the trail back home.
Nature is the doorway back to mental and physical health. The natural world is the remedy for the malady of the modern. That’s the philosophy of this blog; that’s the heart of living life outdoors. It starts with just getting out there. Hike your own hike; ride your own ride; but do it outside. Going outside leads us in, in to our truest selves and to those things that truly matter.
Now put down your phone and get out there.