The last hiking day of our trip was a bit somber for me. It kind of happens that way sometimes. I start thinking about how wonderful my life feels when I'm outside in the dirt (or sand, or lake, or ocean, or jungle).
The limited social pressures to combat, the limited physical stuff to take care of, the ample freedom.
I feel like I can breathe and love and see my family so deeply out there... and then I remember that I have to go back home.
It feels sad to me.
It feels sad to me.
And then I feel sad that I feel sad because, in my hardest moments, I start to question myself and wonder why I've allowed myself to settle in a place and build a home that I feel sad about returning to.
And then I start to think about what I could do to change things, and all I can come up with is:
Gather my family close, sell everything and start all over.
Seriously... when I picture an ideal situation, I'm living in a temperature controlled hut-like structure with plenty of natural light in a forest near a clean, warm river that flows calmly into the Atlantic Ocean. I'd have my family, my marked-up falling-apart old-smelling beloved scriptures, a notebook of lined paper, my favorite colored pens, my phone, my Apple watch and my computer, clothes for 7 days, tennis shoes, Teva sandals, a swimming suit, my piano, my bike, and a really, really comfortable mattress with two amazing pillows. Everyone else in my family would have a comparable list of things that were important to them, and everything else? I could sell it all.
There is something that happens to me when I immerse myself in nature. I don't think I'm alone in this, and I think many people would nod in agreement, so maybe it's okay that it's difficult to explain and even more difficult to explain in writing...
But it's something about alignment. Spending time outdoors aligns my head with my heart and then aligns my head and heart with God.
Kind of like magnetizing a nail. If you rub a non-magnetic nail in a single direction with a magnet, the nail becomes magnetized because the electrons in that nail begin to shift their orientation. They start to align. And as they align, the metal nail actually changes one of its physical properties and becomes magnetized itself.
In this metaphor, I am the nail. Nature is my magnet. Of course, I could be totally disproved by science, but all I know is that breathing in nature aligns me in such a way that I, too, feel physically changed. Ordered. Calm. Capable. Strong. The world makes more sense to me. My priorities are more clear because the dissonance between my head and my heart evaporates. (My head usually tells me that dishes and home improvements and vacuuming and Oreos are the main priorities, and my heart usually tells me that family games and walks and scriptures and long talks are better. (And Oreos. They both believe in the importance of Oreos.))
Anyway. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I tend to like myself and my results better when I'm immersed in nature. I did try to convince everyone that we should take a year and RV around the country, and I wasn't even kidding. No one else seemed as excited about it as I am, but I'm going to figure out how to do it. Because even if they don't admit it, the kids and Brian and even the dog are happier out in nature, too.