Did you miss out on this yearís Earth Day festivities? Well, donít worry, itís not too late to celebrate. Springtime is an excellent time to reacquaint yourself with your natural roots. After months of cold and seclusion during a long, stormy winter, who wouldnít want to get out for some fresh air and sunlight? Here are four ideas to help you tune into your inner wild…
Gather wild foods. Whether you live on a rural hilltop or in an urban jungle, edible plants find niches everywhere. The act of foraging for plants can build our awareness of the surrounding nature, bringing us a little bit closer to Mother Earth. Some cities, like Portland, Oregon, get the community involved by compiling a list of documented wild food sources within the city (check it out: Urban Edibles). Check out what resources are available in your own community. I promise you that a breakfast of local eggs scrambled with foraged ramps and fiddleheads is just as luxurious as that of any five-star restaurant. But, before you race out the door, here are two important rules by which to abide: never over-harvest any particular area (or you will inadvertently wipe out that crop for next yearís harvest) and ALWAYS be 100% certain of the identity of your plants! While many plants are very unique in their appearance and scent, some have deadly impersonators. For more info about this and foraging, check out this bit on NPR.
Take a hike… anywhere. Even if you are unable to trek to the idyllic wildflower meadow of your dreams, going for a hike immerses you in high doses of nature. If hard-core uphill trekking isnít your thing, try a local park or nature preserve. Plants and wildlife are everywhere, regardless of whether you drive three hours to the high peaks or walk ten minutes to the park. All you have to do is open up your senses and drink up the inspiration. (Here are 7 of the best urban parks.)
Get dirty. If a hike doesnít appeal to you, try your hand at gardening. Not only is it beneficial to the environment, but also can improve your general sense of well-being. What better way to reconnect with nature than to cradle terra firma in your bare hands! And letís face it, itís nice to get a little dirt under your fingernails once in a while.
Sleep under the stars. Let nature absorb into your pores. Set up a hammock in the breeze and swing away beneath nightís sparkling blanket. Humans have been inspired by the stars and the mysteries of the universe for thousands upon thousands of years. Listen to the sounds of nature and let the universe put all of your mundane worries into perspective.
Reading this, you may have noticed that all of these activities could theoretically be done in the same day, or weekend. Go for it! Dedicating time to rediscovering nature will bring you more happiness, creativity, and vitality. You may have missed “Earth Day,” but you can still incorporate a little more earth into every day.