This morning, while searching scientific journals for compelling geology stories for the March issue of EARTH magazine, I stumbled upon a study in PLOS ONE exploring the link between creativity and the outdoors:
Well, duh. Anybody who spends time outside, away from screens, knows how good it feels. But still, I’m glad to see the link between walking and well-being getting some love from the scientific community. I am blissfully well aware of the productive benefits of a daily walk outside, but I realize that a lot of people might not be; in our high-tech, high-speed, high-stress world the simplest solutions are often overlooked.
When I was in college, I got into the habit of taking a long walk outside everyday and have reaped so much health and happiness from my daily walks that I prioritize them with religious fervor. Missing even one day is unacceptable — malaise sets in by dinnertime and my dogs are restless all evening.
Getting outside everyday in the winter, when days are cold and short, can be a challenge. Lately, I’ve been interrupting my work day at 3pm to go for a 2-hour hike on the Appalachian Trail.
My walks are spent hiking and thinking, sitting, looking and listening, delighting in the feel of weakly warm winter sun on my face, watching my happy dogs enjoy their two favorite hours of the day. I always emerge from my walks lighter and clearer, with a notepad full of ideas– emails to send, essays to write, trips to plan – and the creative energy to make them happen.
Here are a few photos from yesterday’s hike to the James River Rock, which is just far enough off the beaten trail that it feels like my own private Terabithia…