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Archive for June 2011

It’s strange the impact certain experiences I had as a child continue to have a profound impact on me through my adulthood.

My Love for Mountains and Woods

I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  It is a mountainous area.  I spent quite a bit of time in the mountains and woods during my youth and as a teenager.

I played there as a child.  As a teenager I hunted and fished.  In the process I found the woods and mountains to be very relaxing and comforting.  While there I could get away from all my concerns and really relax.

Wandering Far from That

As an adult I have wandered from that.  I have lived in New York City and the suburbs of Detroit, Indianapolis and, now, Chicago.    All of these have been larger metropolitan areas – relatively few forests.  To add to it, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois are basically flat.  You have to drive great distances to see and experience even rolling hills.

The northern half of Indiana is flat as far as you can see and consists primarily of corn fields.  Farms make up most of the northern half of Illinois outside the metro Chicagoland area.

Trapped by Flat Land All Around Me

I get restless, bored and antsy when as far as I can see, the land is flat with one field after another.  No hills – No trees – No woods.  After awhile I start to feel trapped by all of the flat land around me.  I start to go bonkers.

I like the area I live in.  It has all of the conveniences and the amenities I really appreciate it.  Everything I need and want are close at hand except for the woods and mountains.

My Mountains and Woods Fix

I never realized how deeply I craved the mountains and woods and the peace and serenity they brought me.  I find that about every 3 months I need a mountain and woods fix.  I just have to get back to these, back to re-experience nature as I did when I was growing up.

My wife and I had the opportunity to do that this past weekend.  We went camping in southwestern Wisconsin.  There was still farmland there.  However, the farms were on rolling hills.  We camped in the woods.

That was absolutely great.  While driving there I was totally spent.  Coming home I was totally rejuvenated.  My batteries were recharged.  It’s amazing what a weekend back in what I consider to be true nature does for me.  It is my prescription for great emotional and mental health.

How about You?

Have You Ever Thought about It?

Your experience may have been different.  You may have grown up where it was flat or among farms and truly appreciated that.  If you are living in a mountainous or wooded area I imagine that you have regular longings to go somewhere flatter or more open on a regular basis.

If you grew up near the ocean and now find yourself in the middle of the country miles from the nearest lake, I imagine that you regularly long for the ocean.  You probably feel anxious to get back to the ocean frequently.

Follow your body’s signals.   Regularly get back to nature as you enjoyed it while you were growing up.  You will be surprised what it does for your  emotional and mental health.

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