by Janet Chester Bly
I do my job in my home. I’m a writer. One of the most important messages to myself I tacked to my bathroom wall: “Get out!”
My friend’s counselor advised a good remedy for what ailed her—get close to nature. “Get outdoors,” she exhorted. “Get dirty, get wet, get loose, and hug a tree.”
She asked me to join her. So we tiptoed across a park lawn in our bare feet and plunged them in a pool. That night we read around a campfire, snuggled in sleeping bags under a full moon and peaceful sky in my yard. The next morning we made mud-pie butterflies, mushed around with finger paints, investigated wildflowers and insects, and rolled down a small hill.
We both felt refreshed, renewed, and a little silly, like schoolgirls at a slumber party. It turned out to be a bright spot memory in her long journey of overcoming a stunted, starved childhood. Meanwhile, I learned the healing power of “Get out!” Needy or fun friendships can do that for us.
Caring for plants forces me out in summer. Or a change in the weather any time of year. Thunder rolls or wind picking up or splats of rain on my tin roof draw me to the front porch for a fuller encounter.
My camera takes me on excursions of capturing a scene I notice out the slotted blinds of my window. Within the confines of my own property, I record squirrel and deer play, bird and plane flight patterns, cloud forms and sunsets.
The need for exercise pulls me to at least a walk around the block or across the street to the state park. That’s when I put on my first smile in my solitary day and prepare to interact with people who live or camp close to me. I greet or wave and remember to pray for them.
Sometimes we can get out and not really enter in. We travel, but we block out sights by hunkering in hotel rooms. We cover earthy smells with car fumes. We drown bird medleys with earbuds.
Our views of the world tend to come boxed in rectangle screens with moving, flat pictures, dubbed with narrator translations and subtitles. Safely contained, neatly explained, we settle for a kind of antiseptic adventure controlled by a remote or mouse.
No matter where I am, I aim for a moment each day when I heed the call to truly, “Get out!”
Janet Chester Bly is the widow of award-winning western author Stephen Bly. They authored and co-authored more than 120 fiction and nonfiction books for adults and kids (8-12 years old). She lives in north-central Idaho on the Nezperce Indian Reservation at 4,200 ft. elev. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.BlyBooks.com