Earlier today, on my way across the yard to the car, my attention was caught by my redbud tree. I love that tree. I glance at it often. And yet, I had not noticed until this afternoon that the branches on the south side curved gracefully to the ground, creating a leafy curtain.
I was captivated. More accurately, my inner child jumped for joy. The space of lawn beneath that green canopy was exactly the sort of place that I used to seek out as a child.
I thought about that inviting space all afternoon. When I returned home, the child in me wanted to grab a quilt and camp out under the redbud. My adult side wondered what the neighbors would think, if they saw me lying on the ground beneath the tree. When I heard myself telling Greg “…if that tree was in the backyard, I’d be out there in a second…” my decision was made. Have I not been freeing myself, for years, from concern about what people think? And then, as if I needed further encouragement, I discovered something. Suddenly my perspective broadened beyond just getting outside for a few minutes.
June is National Great Outdoors Month. That’s 30 days dedicated to escaping the indoors and enjoying the great outdoors. I grabbed a quilt and headed outside, to begin celebrating this month long holiday immediately.
National Great Outdoors Month is designed to get people outside and enjoying nature. There are so many ways to experience the outdoors. Here are a few ideas, along with the dates set aside during June, for special celebrations.
June 3 National Trails Day – the purpose of this day is to encourage people to discover and hike one of the many trails in their areas. I had the opportunity, during my 30 Day Walking Challenge last fall, to walk along many trails in the southwest Missouri/northwest Arkansas area. My intention tomorrow is to celebrate the day by hiking a local trail.
June 2 – 10 National Fishing and Boating Week – There are many ways to enjoy being on the water. If fishing isn’t your thing…it’s no longer something I would enjoy…then hit the waterways in a boat, a canoe, an inner tube or a kayak. Use standard safety equipment and cautions…and have fun making a splash.
June 9 National Get Outdoors Day – also known as GO Day, this is THE day in June to get outside and have fun. Ride a bike, canoe down the river, hike a trail, walk in a park or throw down a blanket somewhere and have a picnic. There are all kinds of games and sports that can be played outdoors. Or find a park sponsoring a movie or concert outside. I will be participating in this day for sure, in some fun way!
June 13 Great Outdoors Month National Day of Service – this is a day dedicated to being of service in parks and outdoor projects across the US. I’ll be doing research to see if there are any scheduled service days in my area. If not, simply walking a trail or circling the park and picking up trash would be a great service project.
June 22 Great American Campout – this day is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, with the intention of getting kids outside and exploring nature. Of course, adults can participate too. I have not been camping in five years. I would love to celebrate this day by camping out and trying some plant based campfire recipes!
Even if it’s just sitting on a quilt under a tree, getting outside is so beneficial. Sunshine delivers vitamin D and energy to the body. Walking barefoot in the grass grounds the body, bringing earth energy in through the sensitive meridians in the soles of the feet. The breeze invigorates and cools the skin, water restores the soul and reduces stress, and hearing birds, catching the scents of flowers, grasses and herbs, and observing nature’s rhythms all soothe the body while igniting the imagination.
All three of my cats found me under the tree and took turns lying across my lap before settling down near me. And yes, the neighbors noticed me. Three spoke to me or called out a greeting. One asked me realtor advice. And I scared another as he walked by. He didn’t see me under the tree at first. None of them made fun. In fact, they said I looked like I was having a great time relaxing on my quilt.
And I did. I enjoyed being outside, listening, watching, daydreaming, and ultimately writing my blog post. I’m excited about escaping the indoors every day this month and exploring the great outdoors. Join me!