Outdoor Cure-All

I finally had two totally free days this past weekend, and the weather was supposed to be amazing. I decided to go to kayaking on the nearby lake. Work has been kind of stressful lately, so some positive physical activity and a chance to be outside seemed like the perfect antidote to everything that’s been ailing me. I don’t decompress over a glass of wine or crappy tv shows like some people. I would much rather get outside in the sunshine or sweat it out instead.

On Saturday, I got to the lake early as planned. That might not be everyone’s idea of a fun time to be up on the weekend, but that’s not the only thing that makes me weird. The water looked like glass and reflected all the gorgeous colors of the sunrise. It took my breath away and made me proud of what I do for a living, which was exactly what I was hoping for. The air was so crisp, and everything was so peaceful and still. I just stood there for a few minutes and took it all in. It almost felt disrespectful not to. Then a bird started screeching, and the spell was broken. I snapped back into action and got my fishing kayak down from the roof rack. In just a few minutes, I had it on the water and were ready to set off.

The weather really was perfect. We started across the lake, and the only sound was my paddle slapping the water and the occasional bird. I love kayaking. It is almost meditative when I am out on the water. I also like the fact that the boat moves because of me, because of the strength in the muscles of my upper body. It is quantifiable proof of how hard I am working to keep myself healthy—with every stroke, I see how powerful my arms are getting. It is a huge motivator for me. Total bonus that I get to be outside breathing the fresh air and experiencing the beauty of the world all around me while I do it.

Days like this remind me of why I am in the field I am in. Being able to feel the warm rays of the sun and think about how I’ve created systems that are powered by the sun to run machines. To feel the wind and know that I’ve designed machines that can run on harvested wind power. I can see the trees and know that if they need to be cut down for any reason, they can be used for anything from building materials or to soften the ground on a playscape or be a source of fuel. It is a great feeling to know that I am a part of that.

Yes, being outside definitely made me feel better.