Best Way to Enjoy Nature and the Great Outdoors

I have to confess I am totally an indoors person. I’m never the first person to suggest camping, hiking-even a picnic in the woods. I still have nightmares about a summer camp counselor experience I attempted at a sleep-away wilderness camp. I lasted twenty-eight days, finally going home with an average of, oh, one injury per day. I ignited my hair making a campfire. A bug flew in my eye (which doesn’t sound so bad until I tell you I had to go to the hospital to get it removed-ewwww). Of course I got poison ivy. I finally had to give up and retreat to my home in the suburbs. But a part of me en­vies the girls who are out there—Whitewater rafting, rock climbing, hanging out and communing with nature.

Melva “Nikki” van Schyndel teaches skills of the naturalist, tracker, herbalist, survivalist, and scout. And after I heard what it was like for her, I found myself genuinely wanting to join her outside.

Great Outdoors Best Way to Enjoy Nature and the Great Outdoors

My favorite place to be is at my secret place. It is here at the edge of a field, alongside a small pond that I can forget the re­sponsibilities and pressures of life. My secret place is my es­cape, without limitations or expectations, and where there is nothing to prove, to be, to worry. I can be me. Being so close to nature has not only taught me about myself, but helped me to discover my true self and become die person I have always dreamed of, in a time when it is very hard for us to do so.

In our world where we are told to focus our eyes on one thing, where our senses are dulled from overstimulation and pollution, it is no wonder many people’s lives seem mun­dane. We must open our senses in order to truly listen and see the world around us.


It is truly amazing when we notice what has been hap­pening around us, in nature and in our daily lives. Plants and trees are one of the most disrespected and overlooked allies we have. We learn to understand the language of the birds. Birds don’t just randomly sing. In fact, each bird has a wide range of voices and calls, specific to particular cir­cumstances. We begin to see the world looking through new eyes and develop a much greater awareness, of our­selves and the world around us.

Fear is the greatest challenge and the greatest teacher for many people in nature. Our cultures are full of fearful myths about nature, and you will discover many of them to be untrue. The reality is that I am more likely to be hurt while driving to my friend’s house than I am to be attacked throughout my whole lifetime by the cougars roaming where I walk every day. Perhaps you will like the rain once you actually let it fall on you, even though people often re­fer only to sunny days as “nice” in our society. Maybe you will even grow accustomed to the beauty of insects all around you. Disliking such natural things is simply fear and separation from nature. Visiting my secret place has re­placed fear with wonder.

It is only in nature that we can find answers to all the questions we ask, where we can feel with our hearts what those answers are, without the distractions of life and our city mind. I encourage you to seek out your own secret place, a place for thinking, relaxing, playing, exploring. A place of sharing or being alone. Discover that whole new world of na­ture anywhere and begin witnessing all the amazing, magical things that will happen there and in your life.

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