Let’s Get Moving
Guest Author Dr. Michael J. Porter
Don’t worry. I’m not a health nut. I’m not a crazed marathoner who wants you to join him on a morning run. I’m not even going to chide you for not exercising enough. I understand the allure of a comfortable chair, a great novel, and a cozy corner you can call your own. My favorite afternoons are spent there with you.
What I am going to promote in today’s blog is communing with nature. It’s springtime in Missouri, my favorite time of year. (Well, next to those beautiful Indian Summer days in the fall when the leaves are brilliant and the skies are deep blue and you are content to soak in the sun and listen to the frantic squirrels scampering in the bed of leaves.) Spring is a time to get outside and look for signs of growth – the daffodils sending up their shoots; the vinca putting out tiny buds for another year of wandering growth; and the trees sprouting out in bursts of reds or greens at the tips of their branches. Some trees are earlier to bud that others and it’s fun to compare one species with another. Who’s going to win the race? The Missouri native Redbuds, so prolific as undergrowth in the hills of our state, are favorites of mine. They are just now putting out a small deep violet bud at the edge of the branch, waiting for more sunshine before they burst out in a brilliant display of spring color – I call it Missouri violet. You have to love the springtime around here; and the best way to do that is to get outside.
Go for a walk, alone or with a friend. If alone, you have the chance to focus on your environment. You can listen for the birds chirping away, calling out to each other, seeking a mate, or trying to protect their territory. If you listen carefully, you can hear the birds’ calls from far away. You can look at how the trees are budding out; see if you can identify the species. Notice the health of the bark, and how gracefully the branches arch from the main trunk. Look at the ground and find the green growth all around. Lawn grasses turning a vivid green; fern fronds peeking out, the mint overtaking the garden.
I think it’s fun to walk the same way each day so that you can look for changes and new growth from day to day.
The point of all of this is really to urge you to get outside, to go for a walk, and to commune with nature. Let others extol the health benefits of such activities; I want you to do so because it’s good for your soul. These experiences should be relaxing and calming for you. I want you to focus on the moment; on what your senses are taking in: bird sounds, new colors sprouting forth before your eyes, and the feel of the sun on your neck and the gentle breeze kissing your cheek. Let it consume you. Embrace it. This is your world. How fortunate are we to be alive to relish it.