Friday, July 1, 2016

Being Outdoors vs. Being 'Outdoorsy'

Someone asked me if I was 'outdoorsy' type of person a while back, and I wasn't sure how to respond because I don't know all the connotations that term is meant to imply. And I don't really like labels that categorize me as one type of person or another.

But this week, I did something that was really was so simple, yet it made me feel youthful and fully in the moment, outdoors.

My son attended a Lego camp at a local university, which is about half an hour drive away in the middle of the day and last for three hours. A dear friend lives in this town but we weren't able to connect on the first day of the camp, So there I was, three hours to kill in a small university town where nearly everything, including the local coffee shop, (bummer!) was closed for summer holidays.

So, I took my trusty Hello Kitty and trade picnic blankets, which are always in back of the car, spread them out under a nice shade tree, grabbed my knitting, and had a most pleasant afternoon in the summer air, at one point even taking a nap!

Working on a pair of matching hats for twin girls coming in October! 
It seems such a small thing but how often do we, as adults, enjoy simple time outside without boating on lakes, swimming in beaches, or driving for hours to find mountains to climb? How often do we just spread a blanket on the ground outside in the shade and simply relax?

Though it is mid-summer here, on this day I was blessed with overcast sky and a breeze which made temps feel cooler. In the South, summer is often the great exodus from outdoors, especially during midday, due to the heat. Busy towns look like ghost towns between noon and 5pm. So I was pretty much on my own, minus a bit of occasional traffic passing by, but that was okay too.

My view!
I have spent time in Europe and lived in the North, and there I always saw people spread out blankets enjoying outside time in pleasant weather, not doing anything more strenuous than perhaps tossing a frisbee on a nice afternoon. Parks and university lawns and public places would be dotted with color as people found and took their places with picnic baskets and toys for small children who might be present. I think maybe here in the South we take pleasant weather for granted a bit, especially in summer when a cool day randomly inserts itself in the midst of almost triple-digit temps. Had my friend been free that afternoon, or the coffee shop been open, I might not have enjoyed this time outside, either!

Outside time doesn't have to be grand or involve doing 'outdoorsy' things (which I think means boating, hiking, swimming, etc.) But fresh air and time out-of-doors is good for mind, body and soul. I don't believe one needs to necessarily drive many miles to enjoy time outside in nature - my hours on the university grounds were rejuvenating and restful, and such a simple thing to accomplish, and something I can do anytime in my own neighborhood when weather allows.

So the next pleasant day, when you have a few hours to spare, spread a blanket on the ground, grab a good book or fun project and a bottle of water, and enjoy some outside time. You don't have to break a sweat, I promise!