|Cranberry Lake at Deception Pass State Park|
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The holidays are officially upon us, and beneath the twinkling lights, cheerful carols, and abundance of delicious food runs an undercurrent of stress, anxiety, and over-scheduled days that can drain the joy from our holiday season if we allow it to overtake us. In my own experience, the sight of that first red Starbucks holiday cup is enough to clench my stomach in an anxious knot that won't release until we ring in the New Year. During these times, spending time in nature hiking, walking, or simply sitting and listening can help to relax, refresh, and restore a sense of peace to our hectic lives.
I snapped the photo above of Cranberry Lake during my First Day Hike at Deception Pass State Park two years ago. The water was calm and still, perfectly reflecting the cloudy gray sky on that chilly winter morning. The serenity of the scene became something tangible, something I could assimilate into my own being and carry with me even after I'd left the park and set out for a long drive home on a busy freeway. There are so many scenes - a still lake, a snowy mountain, a fiery sunset, sunlight cutting through fog - that can imbue that same sense of calm, give us that same reminder to slow down, to breathe.
Be on the lookout for these scenes when you're hiking, walking, driving to Thanksgiving dinner or sitting on the couch with a belly full of turkey and gazing out the window, and take advantage of the moments of peace as we embark on another busy holiday season!
You may have heard of REI's Opt Outside movement launched this Thanksgiving, which encourages people to opt out of the craziness of Black Friday shopping, and instead choose to spend time outdoors in nature the day after Thanksgiving. Make memories with friends and loved ones rather than battling for the best deals at the shopping mall. My sister and I went hiking on Black Friday last year, in the pouring rain. We had the trails nearly to ourselves, we saw a spectacular waterfall swollen with rainwater, and we got soaking wet and freezing cold. I can vouch for the fact that the memory of that hike will mean more to me than anything I could have purchased at Target for 70% off. Join the growing number of people choosing to Opt Outside on Black Friday and give yourself a nature break to escape the holiday stress for a day!