Ramble On

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Get your mind dirty

With the increasing travel schedule and other work pressures, I’ve been slower than usual to post so far this year. I’m not writing today to lament that – I appreciate those readers who’ve found the blog on their own or who read on FB – thanks very much! Just an observation, and since I am writing today from the brick terrace watching the dude do his job in the pool (almost finished!), I wanted to switch gears a minute for this post.

On my trip to Barstow a few weeks ago I picked up the June 2011 edition of Outside magazine to read in flight. As usual there are plenty of good articles, but this time a column by Richard Louv caught my attention with the headline “Get Your Mind Dirty.” Louv has a couple of books to his credit, including 2005’s “Last Child in the Woods,” and “The Nature Principle” just published (the image here includes an Amazon link).

Now, Louv argues something that seems to make a lot of sense – “the more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need.” And the clarion call is the fact that more than half of the world’s population lives in cities for the first time in human history. He writes:

“While the study of the relationship between mental acuity, creativity, and time spent outdoors is still a frontier for science, new data suggests that exposure to the living world can even enhance intelligence. At least two factors are involved: fist, our senses and sensibilities can be improved by spending time in nature; second, the natural environment seems to stimulate our ability to pay attention, think clearly, and be more creative.”

There’s quite a bit more in the column in this month’s Outside, and I think I will pick up a copy of the new book for our upcoming vacation to Cape Cod. But in the meantime, I have some experiments in mind, starting with my 75@75 project – next hike is this coming weekend. Those hikes are designed to be challenging across the full range of their details, and the early ones that take advantage of long summer days are especially so.

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