Monday, November 3, 2014

The End of Daylight Saving Time - A Nature Nerd Survival Guide


Winter Sunset - Lainey Piland Photo

It was with heavy hearts this past Saturday night that we bade farewell to Daylight Saving Time and sadly went from room to room through our homes to turn the clocks back an hour. Although we gained an extra hour that day, we also lost something necessary to the Nature Nerd pursuit of happiness: daylight.

The sun now sets before 5:00pm. Gone are the days of coming home from work, swapping workwear for athletic clothing and sneakers, and heading right back out the door for a walk or quick hike. No more bird- or wildlife-watching as we go about our evening routine. Now we look through windows that reveal nothing but seemingly empty blackness.  Our outdoor activities are relegated to whatever time we can eke out for them during our busy weekends.

Chin up, Nature Nerds! Stop sobbing over that mug of pumpkin spice something-or-other as you peer out your darkened windows at 4:50 in the afternoon. You can still get your nature fix despite the waning daylight.  Here are a few ideas to get you through:

Read

This is one of the best ways to connect with nature when you're stuck indoors.  A good author can paint vivid pictures with their words that make you feel as though you're in the great outdoors right along with them.  You can never go wrong with classics like Henry David Thoreau's Walden, or any writings of John Muir (I recommend My First Summer in the Sierra or The Mountains of California). 

I'm currently working my way through the finalists for this year's Orion Book Award, which features both fiction and nonfiction titles.  I've already read Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam and local author Lyanda Lynn Haupt's The Urban Bestiary - both excellent, informative, and thoughtful reads that left me looking forward to reading the other finalists.

Stargaze

Lainey Piland photo
We may be losing daylight, but we're gaining more time to view an oft-overlooked and surpassingly breathtaking natural phenomenon: the stars. When granted a clear evening (rare here in Washington, I know...), wrap up in some blankets, grab some hot chocolate, and sit outside with your gaze fixed upon the twinkling stars overhead. Learn to identify by name the constellations and stars of which they are comprised. Use binoculars or a telescope to examine the moon, planets, and distant galaxies.  For an up-to-date list of what's visible in the sky on a given night, check out Sky and Telescope's "This Week's Sky at a Glance". Hint: the Leonid Meteor Shower is coming up on the night of November 16th!


Plan Next Year's Hikes

It's never to soon to start planning and looking forward to next year's - or next weekend's - hikes! Pick up a book of hikes in your area, or log on to websites such as the Washington Trails Association to plan your upcoming outdoor adventures.

Organize and Edit Photos

Oh, how easy it would be to while away many a dark evening organizing and editing the plethora of photos captured during outdoor adventures of spring, summer, and autumn.  I have hundreds of photos on my computer from this year alone! Clicking through the photos will remind you of those beautiful memories and reconnect you with the natural scenery they represent.

Listen to Nature Sounds

I know I've linked the Breathing Space recordings from One Square Inch to this blog many times before, but I'm doing it again. Shamelessly.  Take a listen - you'll feel like you've been teleported to the wilderness.

Bring the Outdoors Inside - with a Houseplant
 
For the longest time, I kept plants out of my home because my sweetly mischievous kitty loves to chomp on them. After doing some research, I located a plant that is non-toxic to cats, thrives on little light, cleans pollutants from the air and is nearly impossible to kill.  I got a spider plant.  Two of them, actually.  Somehow having a plant indoors along with the simple act of watering and pruning leaves me feeling more connected to the outdoors.

Stay Tuned to Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Right on this blog, every Wednesday, Nature Nerd Wednesdays will connect you with the refreshing and inspiring effects of nature, through literature, photos, and videos.

These are a few of my strategies for survival as the days - and time spent outdoors - become shorter than I would prefer.  How do you fulfill your nature cravings during the darker months? Feel free to share in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. Love this concept. Yes the dark days are upon us,sigh. But more time to feel content to be inside reading, like you suggest. Cheers.

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