Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays!  By the middle of the workweek, I know that I'm ready for a pick-me-up, for some inspiration -- and for that reason I decided to post a nature photo or quote each Wednesday.  Perusing works of nature writing and photography helps me reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature, which is something we all can benefit from in the middle of a busy, stressful work week!

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 .  I highly recommend checking out more of the photos in the "Gallery" on the website.


  1. The story in itself is marvelous. In addition, I can't help but marvel that his pet cat made this same journey and didn't wander far from Mr. Simmons. Beautiful post, respecting Veterans everywhere.

    1. I was also surprised that Burma the cat didn't run off! Most cats are very independent and would wander off to embark on their own adventure, but the fact that Burma stays close by Mr. Simmons on all of their outdoor adventures speaks volumes about the special bond they share. I did notice that Burma wears a leash and harness in a few of the photos, but in most of them he is free.