On the way back from the BlogPaws conference in Nashville, I passed by Tracy City. Tracy City is where the Fiery Gizzard trail is located; a trail I’ve been eyeballing for a while now. It is on my list of trails to complete this summer. My list is small since the summer will be filled with kid activities (swim lessons, summer camps) and dog stuff, but I am determined to fit at least 2 backpacking excursions into my summer activities.
Anyway, I was so excited to see signs for Tracy City when I was driving up to Nashville. So close! All those waterfalls just out there waiting for me! The Fiery Gizzard has many swimming holes, and in the heat of the south, that sounds absolutely heavenly. Memories of clear mountain streams and impressive waterfalls are still clear in my mind from family vacations taken to Tennessee and North Carolina as a child.
Blue Hole Falls, Fiery Gizzard Trail, Tennessee. Photo copyright waterfallshiker.com.
I know my spirit (and body) craves more natural light and scenery. I–like most of us–spend a lot of time indoors under artificial lighting and it’s no secret that as a society we spend our lives rushing around from this thing to that, barely stopping to take notice of what’s around us. As a mom, my mind is flooded with endless lists and chores and people needing things from me. It’s a rare thing to go to the bathroom without a kid waiting on the other side of the door, wanting something. I swear, I pretty much just muddle through as best I can. More often than not I go to bed each night, unable to shut off my brain, thinking of everything I didn’t get done that day and how the heck I am going to get everything done the next day.
I know it sounds cliche, but I just do the best I can and try not to stress about the rest. As my kids have gotten older I have tried to be more easygoing about things, whereas in my younger years I’d be killing myself to make sure everything was exactly to everyone’s liking by the end of the day so I could feel like I was a success. I think many of us–not just mothers–put so much pressure on ourselves and we forget to recharge. We forget to fill up our spirit so that we can continue on, and hopefully get more out of this life than just accomplishing the day’s work by a certain time.
I have not set foot on a trail in a while. Now that the kids are out of school and the pups are old enough to go out and about, that is going to have to change. But in the interim, I started to create a small outdoor space in my back yard. It’s nothing fancy (yet). I drug out a camp table, a camp chair, some dog toys and as soon as the pups were old enough to venture outside, took them out with me. I bought a rather nice Buddha statue and planted a few more plants, and just sat out there, watching the puppies play and feeling the breeze. We would be out there for at least an hour. I began to feel so much better, as being trapped in the house with squabbling, screamy kids can make you want to rip your face off.
Sometimes they would follow me out there, and of course, so would the squabbling. The rule is, they are not allowed to bring any of that outside in Mom’s area. Yes, I have now claimed that small corner of the property as mine. Any complaining, fighting, screaming or any form of ridiculousness and they have to go back inside. If I can’t be out in the woods hiking, I’ll take what I can get. Sitting in the shade, enjoying a breeze that is still fairly nice for June in Florida, I suck up all the peace I can for that one hour (providing the mosquitoes aren’t out in droves). Watching the puppies play is something I could do all day. I think many of us could easily envision ourselves doing nothing else and being perfectly content.
Dogs and nature both have the incredible ability to help us calm and center ourselves, which, in a nutshell, was the basis for my starting this blog. In some upcoming posts, we are going to look a little deeper at the science behind this. Why do we feel so much better after a weekend of camping? After just a short walk around the neighborhood? After petting a dog for a few minutes? What happens within us?
Taking a break from playing during outside time.
I will also be documenting the evolution of my outside space. If you follow us on Vine, we usually post videos during this time of day (puppy playtime out back). Do you have an outdoor space that helps you relax and recharge?