Ah, Mother Nature! One of the things I love most about living in Canada is the seasons. More specifically, I love that each season offers its own beauty and joy, yet the promise of new gratification exists with each next season. More specific still, I love the work of putting away the outdoor gear from one season and the anticipation of getting ready for the next season of adventure.
I love alpine skiing, for example. I am always sad to close out a ski season, but Spring offers the thrill of mountain biking, kayaking and camping. This past Friday, I pitched my beloved 27-year old Eureka! tent. I put my sleeping bag inside, and when night canceled day I said goodnight to the family, grabbed my book and headlamp, and headed out to the tent. I lay down and closed my eyes to listen to the sounds that night brings. Sleep overtook me before I ever had a chance to reach for the book.
I woke a few times in the night; mostly to adjust to the hard ground and new-again sounds of the night – the Canadian geese seem to have been returning home for months now, even in the middle of the night. I never stirred enough to break my sleep fully though. At dawn I woke with Mother Nature and the myriad unique birdsong native to this part of Ontario. By 0530 I was out of the tent and starting my coffee ritual.
It is this last point which I want to focus on this week; not the coffee, but rather the 0530 wake-up. Over the past 6-7 weeks I have been waking up later. Partly because the whole house is getting to bed and waking later. Partly because the blinds are drawn, and hermetically sealed by my wife. Another factor has been that there has been no pressure to get up.
Previously, I would deliberately get up early to get that precious hour before the family stirred. I have always enjoyed my coffee with the sunrise – and without the dog and kids needing things; beholden only to myself. Now, with everyone waking later, I can just get up whenever, and still get some quiet and alone time before the day starts. I don’t much like waking late, but it has become harder to wake with the alarm; indeed, it is even harder, and somewhat selfish, to set the alarm in the first place these days.
I took note Saturday morning, after a night sleeping out-of-doors, how easy it was to wake with the dawn. After weeks of waking up later, I needed no alarm to wake when Mother Nature was my bedroom. The body it would seem is very much attuned with nature; which just reinforces the need to be in nature, and the good that it nurtures. I have traveled far and often in the past, and I can attest the impact of disruption to the Circadian Rhythm. It can sometimes take days to get back on track. Much like my recently altered routine of waking later each week, my rhythms were no longer natural and waking was proving more difficult. Amazing then, what one night under the stars can do.
So, get outside and let Mother Nature work her wonders on you. Stay safe, be healthy, be kind. The light is starting to shine at the end of, and illuminate the long tunnel we are currently traveling towards a return to whatever ‘normal’ looks like when we emerge.
“There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.” – Henry David Thoreau
With April behind us now, so too is the Plank Challenge. How did you do? Did you better yourself?