Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nature's antidote to stress

View from campus

I have always had a love affair with the ocean – growing up in a coastal town, spending many happy days at the beach first with family and later with peers, walking the railway tracks (gulp – did we really do such a dangerous thing?) from White Rock to Crescent Beach and back again as we chatted about romance and school and parents and friends.

But I’m a fickle lover, and simultaneously I’ve had a love affair with the mountains since childhood – watching Mt. Baker from my childhood bedroom window, then hiking and camping and backpacking in the mountains any chance I got.

When I taught in the southern, treed part of the Northwest Territories, I remember chatting with some Inuit students from the high Arctic, who so very much missed the wide open landscapes of their home. They felt trapped by the tall trees everywhere, and when I commented on their beauty, I distinctly remember one young man wailing in frustration, “But you can’t see the LAND!”

It has only been in my adult life that I have come to appreciate those sentiments as I fell in love with the flat lands of the Canadian prairies, golden grains bending in unison, the chorus line of nature taking its bow. I fell in love, too, with the hot sage-covered hills and multitude of hidden lakes in the Okanagan region of B.C., and with the hot, dry, desert-like interior of Washington State around Ephrata and Moses Lake where I once spent many a day while my now-ex flew gliders cross-country.

And now I recognize that I am just besotted by nature – I love the outdoors, the diversity of landscapes in this beautiful country, the seasonal changes, the unique experience each region, each season, brings to my life.

Yesterday it was my old friend, Mt. Baker, that called to me as it so often does. Arriving late at university, I’d had to park on the other side of campus from my usual place. Walking back across campus at the end of the day, I was thankful I had my camera in my bag. Though not as impressive as it sometimes is when sunset casts a rose-and-golden glow across its snowy coat, Mt. Baker was still a breath-taking, awe-inspiring sight.

Who needs trips to the spa or little round pills when nature provides such an amazing antidote to the stresses of the workaday world?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And just think Jean soon Mt. Baker will be a daily sight again.