Can nature heal us?

In Wildlife by Patrick

There are a ton of ways to reconnect with nature and for me personally, this is something that I need to do. Hiking, biking, boating, swimming, bird watching just to name a few. My favorite is the hiking, with camera in hand of course. With my father recently passing away, it allows me time to think, quite my mind and reflect on how my Dad loved the outdoors and instilled that in me. National parks are an absolute privilege to traverse through, but for those that cannot afford or get to the National parks, the next best think may be local. I’m talking about Metroparks. What’s that you may be asking? Valid question. By definition, it is a regional park sometimes referred to as a “Metropolitan Park (Metropark)” and is usually an open space reserve.

Our local Metroparks consist of 13 parks that offer all of the aforementioned ways to get out and enjoy our wild heritage and landscapes at minimal cost. Often a yearly pass is around $35 USD and up to $50 depending where you live. They offer so much for so little a price. This is a great way to unwind individually or share with the family. My family loves going, especially in the fall when color is present. Do they have the ability to heal?

In the literal sense, probably not. For me, just walking about the leaves, color, smells all in the crisp fall air, there is nothing better. Worries, deadlines and whatever else I have going on that may be stressful, melts away. Wildlife allows you to get up close and personal at times in there world. My daughter loves feeding the birds. Common species that will eat from your hand include black capped chickadees, tufted titmouse, downy woodpeckers, gold and white breasted nuthatches. Photo ops abound when you are this close and you don’t need telephoto lenses to get great images.

I try to instill in my daughter the love I have for nature and it is to be respected and treasured. Being a teen this is not high on the list at the moment, but when that first bird lands on her hand, everything changes and she is hooked. This is the power of our natural surroundings. She did not want to leave. After hitting the trails, making clicks and just unwinding, I have a sense of calm. For me personally, sometimes nature is just what the doctor orders and I believe it does have the ability to heal.

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