The Great Outdoors

4:59 PM

Getting outside to enjoy the fresh air can make a world of difference to your health and your mood. As the lucky recipients of a Northern Ontario winterized cottage, Calvin, Oliver and I love to make the trek up and enjoy a long weekend among the trees. That's where this photo comes from. It's the icy, snow-covered lake that leads to "the island", which we swim to during the warmer months. This trout-filled body of water swept and flowed around me just days before I gave birth to Oliver, my huge 39-weeks-pregnant body gently gliding towards the goal of reaching the island. We never do remember to save energy for the swim back.

Not just the lake, but the trees are often just what I need to brighten a day. They faithfully intake carbon dioxide and breathe out the oxygen we need. The trees that drop their leaves signal us that autumn has come, that winter is here, or that spring is arriving. They guide us through the seasons. The coniferous bear their green all year and can sometimes feel like the only sign of life under a blanket of white.

The tiny chipmunks and graceful deer remind us that before downtowns and urban shopping centres, we shared this land with creatures that still toil daily for food and survival. Reminding us that berries and nettles can make a nice snack. And that there is merit in spending more effort than money to create a home.

And when we come in from the cold we're a little more likely to be thankful for the life we've been given. We smile a bit more, we entertain our family instead of our Smart Phones. We have a sudden preference for doing things like the olden days - home roasted coffee and handmade cheese. Each log that burns not only warms the space but connects us to its story - when it was but a tree in the forest. A piece of the outdoors that our soul is longing for.

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