May Challenge

Happy May Day!

Summer is just around the corner. Flowers are blooming, buds are appearing on once-bare branches, moles are popping up in yards in anticipation of tender young shoots to nibble at. If you haven’t already made reservations for many campgrounds, now is the time to seek out the options that remain (most reservable campgrounds open up reservations six months to a year in advance). Even if you can’t get away for an overnight trip, Spring hikes, especially around locations that feed off snow melt, are spectacular!

In fact, I have a challenge for you. Remember those times when you were young, endless hours spent playing outside, getting all kinds of dirty, exploring every nook and cranny you could wiggle into? Spring is the release of pent-up bodies. It is the fresh bursting-forth of life from the Earth. Spring is a time to remember that just outside our windows, the natural world exists. THAT world has been here longer than us and will continue long after we’re gone. Seasons change, and with each change is a new opportunity to focus on the newness of each season, the subtle shift from one mode of life to the next.

Here’s my challenge: One month of getting outside a minimum of three times a week for at least 20 minutes.*

This does not include walking to and from your car. It isn’t the snippet here and there of walking from your office to the coffee shop or taking a smoke break. I hope it would be more than just the time spent begrudgingly mowing lawns or pulling weeds, though if that is your form of enjoyment, it will do. What it is is twenty minutes of just enjoying nature. It is laying back in the grass, examining cloud shapes for animals with your kids or tracking down the frog you hear at dusk each night. It is definitely the hike or camping trip, whether 1 mile or 50. It is embracing even those rainy days with rubber boots and worms abound. Twenty minutes outside, letting nature soak into your skin, feeling the difference between re-circulated, air-conditioned air and what nature uses to tousle your hair. Two times a week (or more if you’re ambitious!) for meaningful interaction with something that isn’t man-made. Your job, your house, your chores – those will still be there when you get back, but nature changes. Go outside! Change with it!

To join the challenge, simply leave a comment. Additionally, track and share your adventures by joining the Facebook page!

*I realize that this challenge may be easier for some than others. For those of you already outside, make a commitment to either a) increase your time (20 minutes too easy? How about 45?) or b) make it your goal to get someone else outside for those 20 minutes! It is a great opportunity to invite the elderly woman down the street to go for a walk, or the friend who you know could simply benefit from some fresh air. The key part of this challenge is that you are consciously focusing on the natural world around you.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
~Khalil Gibran