Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Season of Change

Tis the season I suppose.  Many friends I talk to have very strong feelings about where they are at and where they are going with their lives.  It's normal for this time of year, and being this far north I think it gets a little magnified.  Today we are three days away from the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.  Here on the shores of lake Erie we are lining up for a little less than 9 hours of daylight on December 21st. 

For modern people this doesn't seem like a big deal.  We've got electricity readily available.  We've got indoor jobs, and a constant flow of entertainment from a couple magic little boxes.  Many of us barely notice the change within ourselves, until we wake up grumpy.  Irritable the whole day, no matter how that day is filled. 

Lack of sunlight really does a number on all of us.  Our bodies most efficient way to supplement Vitamin D is through sunlight.  Even being outside on a cloudy day will help because some of the ultraviolet waves still push through the clouds. 

Our not-to-distant ancestors didn't feel the pinch as bad as we do.  In agrarian societies outdoor work still needs to happen whether there is 14 hours of sunlight or 9.  Even that little bit of light gives us amazing health benefits.  I do try to get out whenever possible.  Even on a rainy day I'll walk down to the corner store to pick up an afternoon snack.  Then if the sun is shining, well watch out.  Aiden (my youngest) and I spent a solid 4 hours outside just this past Sunday.  It was sunny and a pleasant 56 degrees.  If you're reading this any significant distance from northwest PA, yes 56 is delightfully pleasant in mid December. 

The fact that our bodies respond so well outdoors, is really a great indication of how connected to nature we really are.  We've had thousands of years of evolution to build this body to survive on this planet.  It's just been in the past 150 years that we've closed ourselves off.  Developed larger and larger cities.  Moved more and more of our lives indoors, under artificial lights, disconnected from where our bodies are built to survive. 

Is any of this going away? Of course not. The only alternative is actively add outdoor activities to your weekly routine.  Take a walk around the block.  Go hike your usual hunting spot and see what it looks like out of season.  Explore a new trout stream.  Get out and move.  Your body, and your mind will thank you.

Happy Exploring
Scott M

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