Any nature lover can tell you that spending time in the great outdoors is good for the soul. The fresh air, adventure and discovery, awe-inspiring scenery, and the tranquil sense of feeling at home in nature can have a tremendous positive impact on our mental and emotional well-being-- in fact, that is the purpose of Nature Nerd Wednesdays! In honor of Veteran's Day earlier this week, I just had to share a story from the Huffington Post that I absolutely fell in love with: a touching and inspiring story of a veteran who found healing in nature.
|Stephen Simmons with companions Puppi and Burma|
Stephen Simmons is an Iraq war veteran who struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after returning home. At the suggestion of a friend, he decided to try a novel form of therapy, and thus began Simmons' journey to healing through "Adventure Therapy". Living in his Jeep in the Oregon wilderness along with Puppi the service dog and Burma the cat, Simmons spent his time hiking and climbing mountains, channeling his energy into this outlet of adventure rather than into destructive behaviors. This journey of healing was documented in Simmons' photo book entitled "The Adventures of Puppi and Burma," where he shares some of his favorite photos of their adventures together.
Simmons' photos are incredible. Taken only with a camera phone, these stunning images share a very personal journey and document the natural scenery that inspired his healing. Here are a few of them:
Reading this story, a well-known quote from Thoreau came to mind:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."Much like a modern-day Thoreau, Simmons stripped his life to the bare essentials and chose to "live deliberately" in the wilderness... perhaps to see what it had to teach, but also to help him reconnect with who he is, move past his struggle with PTSD, and truly live his life again.
Mr. Simmons: Thank you for your service, and thank you for sharing a very personal and inspiring journey through your amazing photos.
For more about "The Adventures of Puppi and Burma", visit http://www.puppiandburma.com/ . I highly recommend checking out more of the photos in the "Gallery" on the website.