By Darren Lum
Savour the summer sun, take a slow walk through the forest and get out there.
I’m a big fan of seasons that don’t require much but the clothes on my back and a desire to breathe fresh air. Not to disparage winter, but the effort required to dress for the weather can feel disproportionate to the activity of anything less than 30 minutes.
So, summer is here and it’s fleeting and will be gone before you blink. Take every opportunity to soak in the solar rays that shine the brightest and warmest at this time of year. This can be while fishing from a dock or a shoreline of a lake or from the bow of a boat. It can be sitting in your lawn chair, enjoying your favourite drink. Or, it can be floating on your back, carried by the current of the river. It can also just be between weeding efforts, or splitting logs at home.
Be open to the opportunities of the season, whether it’s taking time to embrace the waterways of adventures or the forests of discovery.
The hours of daylight are long, perfect for being able to finish chore lists and still be able to get away from the house for leisurely pursuits, whether its a ride down the Haliburton County Rail Trail or a cruise around the lake. Let the sun warm your face as you take an afternoon nap.
Value the little things. The sounds of the summer sound track, which includes the peepers and cicadas performing for Revel in the engineering of spiderwebs, given voluminous depth by the morning dew. See the vistas. Let the soul shine. Lie on a sandy beach or a flat rock and let the warm wind pass over you, as the clouds float by. Lose yourself. Forget time. Be in the present. Accept the gifts that the season can provide. You’re only as young as you are at this moment. Seize the moment. Seize the day. Seize the season.
Summer is also a time when it’s easy to get into the woods and take advantage of what an Ontario Parks article said are well-documented benefits of what is known as “forest bathing, forest therapy” or Shinrin-yoku, which was developed in Japan in the 1980s. Scientific evidence supports the health benefits associated with spending time in nature.
From the article: “Because of this, forest bathing became an integral part of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. The idea is that when humans spend time in a natural setting, especially under the canopy of a forest, they experience rejuvenating benefits to the mind, body and spirit.”
We don’t have a structured program here in the Highlands, but there are benefits from just taking a walk in the forest. Unlike urban areas where opportunities are limited, the Highlands offers a wealth of areas to go, which include behind Archie Stouffer Elementary School or the Dahl Forest.
The next season is on the horizon. The crisp chill of autumn mornings are only a distant thought, but we all know it’s inevitable. Value the present, after all, it’s a gift and it’s worth savouring.