I am just back from a few days in nature. I have breathed clean, cool, fresh air. I have walked fair distances, done significant physical labor, (for the most part) stayed off my electronics. I have sat in grassy shade and had long conversations about really nothing of lasting consequence. I have watched the sun rise over the hills and dapple the leaves of coastal California’s native scrub oak, manzanita and madrone. I explored part of a creek that wound its way down a ravine to reach the mighty Pacific Ocean.
Even in a singularly beautiful natural environment, I still drank too much coffee. I didn’t eat or sleep well (Chaperoning 7th grade boys can do that to a person.).
A change of scenery like this, even a temporary one, can lift the spirits and boost thinking and creativity. There is a reason, after all, that so many retreat centers are located in the woods and so many fewer in center cities. Undistracted by the Internet, television and radio, the latest self-serving whipped-up political shit-storm, I was more relaxed and creative. I did, in fact, think deep thoughts.
On balance, then, it was an undeniably positive experience, although I’m still plenty happy to be back amongst my people.