the nature cure

 

DSC_1874I was reading The Atlantic the other day, and I came across this article about how some doctors are now prescribing time in nature to their patients for various things. Depression, etc. Probably not bone fractures. If you’ve got a bone fracture, probably the last place you want is to be is in the woods. Especially if you got your bone fracture in the woods, like from a boulder falling on you. So if you’ve been crushed by a boulder, it’s okay to crawl out of the woods. Go for it. Don’t look back. But the nature cure apparently does work for other things. Things like:

  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Addiction
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Unfocused rage
  • Focused rage
  • Indoors-too-much syndrome

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It’s called “Ecotherapy,” and it supposedly works in a couple of specific ways:

  1. If you hold soil in your hand, Mycobacterium vaccae will seep into your skin and somehow increase the amount of serotonin in your brain. Actually we don’t know that for sure, but it worked for mice once, so it probably works for every single mammal (right?)
  2. There are, apparently, health benefits of “awe,” the most important being a reduction in cortisol. So there’s that.

So that sounds neat. I think I’m going to try taking the nature cure.

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One thing about taking the nature cure, though, is that you have to really go outside. You can’t just sit on your front stoop with a cup of coffee and your cell phone in your pocket. That would be cheating. Go into the woods, my chickens. Take your car if you must. I’m going to.

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Ooo, look. There it is. Nature. What’s going to happen?!?

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Actually the first thing that happens is that you have to fork over a few bills to get in. It doesn’t seem like there’s anyone out here patrolling, but as soon as you start thinking like that, then you get caught, or you get so worried about getting caught that your nature cure doesn’t work.

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So give the people what they want, and be on your way.

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This particular park is in Wisconsin. It’s called Lowes Creek, and I bet that means there’s a creek here somewhere. Let’s take a nature walk, shall we?

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Doo de doooo dee doo doo dooo, walking walking, nature nature, fee fee faaa faa foodleooo…

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Oh hold on. This is one of those trails where you’re supposed to stop every once in a while and do some exercises. It’s a Fit Trail. That means there’s going to be a bunch of stations.

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Like this one. Here’s the hamstring stretch. Ooooo yah. That burns.

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Here’s the balance beam. Gotta keep that inner ear in shape.

 

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Oooo, here’s the parallel bars. Yikes. Can I possibly….

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Ungh!

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Yeeeeeahhhhh!!!!!!

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Okay well anyway, enough of that. Apparently, according to nature cure rules, you’re supposed to find a place to sit in nature, WITHOUT YOUR PHONE, and just stay there for a while. But there is one caveat: MAKE SURE IT’S A RELAXING PLACE TO SIT.

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For example: this is technically a place you can sit. It is in nature. And yet: it sort of looks like a Haunted Forest of Death. There are better places to sit. So take your time. Find a place that works.

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Here we go. Here’s a nice bench. Hhhhhhhhh. Feels good.

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So you can just sit there a while…….doing nothing but listening to the incessant cacophony of crows… relaxing in a way. Kind of reassuring. In an unsettling sort of way.

Wow they’re loud.

Anyway just keep sitting there and maybe just ignore them. Breathe. Chillax.

Until some other people walk by and you get embarrassed that you’re just sitting there by yourself doing nothing, so you get up and leave and pretend to have somewhere to be.

Walk walk walk walk walk walk walk….

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Wait a second though— oooo oooo. This is pretty. I’m just going to sit here for a minute curing my depression and theoretical diabetes, obesity, ADHD, drug addiction and often-not-theoretical rage, both focused and unfocused.

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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? And how do we know nobody was around to hear it? What are we, god? I bet there were at least some ants around. SOMEONE heard it. Some badger probably got it on his cell phone. They can use that as evidence later.

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Anyway, there you have it, the nature cure. I think I feel better already. My cortisol is WAY down and my awe levels are soaring. I don’t know if I touched the right kind of bacteria, but there’s always next time, if I didn’t.

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Overall, I give the nature cure 4 stars, just one docked for the creepy haunted woods and the other people out for a leisurely weekend judge-walk.

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Toodles! See you next time!

 

 

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