We went hiking last week at a nature preserve sponsored by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, with our friend Pam. The hike was gifted with a Conservancy Guide who took us “hiking at the speed of Botany,” meaning that he would stop every 200 yards or so to show us the red phloem of the Sassafras Tree, or to let us know that it is going to be just about impossible to rid ourselves of the invasive Knotweed.
Hiking and being out in nature are a special kind of rest. Even if it entails expending a good deal of energy (my Apple watch told me we used over 800 calories on our walk), and time (our hike was almost 4 hours, hiking at the speed of botany), and with a 300-foot elevation gain, up and down.
Yet, while we were out there, I could just feel my body relaxing and savoring the day as the sun broke through the canopy or the tall oaks and the fresh fallen leaves of the red maples crunched under our feet.
There are many kinds of rest such as a quiet vacations, indulging in a favorite hobby, or just choosing to do nothing but getting out in nature may be the best way to rest of all as it feeds our soul and hearts as well as our legs.
On our way back from the hike and within just a few hundred yards to the parking lot, we came across a mud pile about 6 ft in length. Most folks were walking around it, but I saw a rock about “so big” right in the middle of that gunk that I was sure I could use as steppingstone. As I took the leap, the rock slipped out from under me and I tumbled down smack dab in the middle of the muck. Covered with mud, I just had to laugh, thinking maybe I should do some mud angels just to emphasize the fact that the hike was a bit like being in heaven.
Being resilient means picking up some protective factors to help you take on the challenges in our lives. Our hike was just the medicine I needed to beef up my resilience for the upcoming fall challenges.