Yesterday didn’t start off as the greatest day in the world. I overindulged the night before on some beer and some tequila, so naturally, I felt like garbage in the morning. Now I like to drink from time to time but I also have a mighty sense of self-loathing the next morning after a day that I do, because it nearly destroys any motivation that I’ve had to be productive on that following day as well. I almost wanted to just draw a line with a black sharpie through my to-do list and say “screw it”, then lay on the couch eating junk food and watching TV until I had fallen asleep in a puddle of my own drool.
However, in my effort to neutralize my self-loathing I had forced myself to start moving. I forced myself to clean up a little and to get ready to do the productive things that I had hoped to do, even though, I really just wanted to wish this day away.
I had gone outside for 5 minutes on to my back patio and realised how warm the air was. I grabbed my morning elixir of brewed coffee beans and took it outside with me. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and it felt like summer was returning to Canada. So I forced myself up from off of my lazy ass and planned to thrust myself back out into nature with a friend of mine that I was with.
Where I live there is a large river that runs nearby, “The Grand River”. If you are from Southern Ontario then you might be familiar with the river that I’m talking about. It’s a large river and it can push quite a lot of water after some heavy rainfall. It’s one of my favourite rivers to kayak down, and it also has quite a few nice trails that run along its length. It’s on one of those trails that we decided to journey out upon and spend the afternoon.
Before we took off I started my dinner in the crockpot so that I could return to a hearty meal that evening (it also ended up as my recipe post last night on my blog). Then I dragged my sorry ass out to my vehicle and took off to the starting point of this trail by the Grand. On arrival, we took a small dirt trail that broke off from an asphalt path and disappeared down into the woods. The birds were chirping and the green of vegetation surrounded us inspiring us with creativity and a sense of wellness. The coolness of the wind brushed our skin and the rays of the sun warmed us when it reached us.
We passed a few other people with the same great idea as our own. They were out and enjoying the bounty of that beautiful day. At one point we wandered off the beaten path and found a teepee created from old logs and covered with a dirty green tarp, outside was a firepit with food and a sooty kettle still sitting on a grill over top. Some genius had definitely been living here recently, and inside of an aluminium tray were hot dogs and onions that had not been eaten. I had visions of a wild savage man murdering me for messing with his cooked weiners. We carried on…
After trekking through the forest for a while, down beaten dirt paths and over piles of crunchy old leaves, we found a spot along the riverbank and sat, listening to the sounds of murky brown water rushing by. The river had grown enormously from recent rainstorms and the water levels were high. Time passed slowly and easily.
The blah feeling that I had woken up with still remained but a feeling of peace had overcome me. These moments in nature are what I live for and it had been a while since I had enjoyed a day this nice without being bundled under coats and sweaters. Trying to recreate this feeling in my day to day life in the city just isn’t possible. It doesn’t matter how many toxins I pump into my system, or how much money I spend in searching for entertainment, these simple moments in nature are pure bliss.
A few hours and a big hill climb later, we had found the asphalt trail that ran above our oasis along the river. After a short drive home, the small adventure we held that day and our moment of peace along the flowing waters had come to an end, but the feeling of calm remained. Our skin held colour from the beating of sunrays on our flesh and life seemed quite bearable now. Perhaps nature is a better cure for those simple woes and illnesses than anything else I’ve ever come across. Give it a shot one day and not a shot of Tequila, what do you have to lose? Nature is a wonderful healer.
“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” – Lord Byron