Photo of Humpback from Vancouver Island Whale Watch
Gabriola, a small island in between Vancouver and Vancouver Island was my home for 15 years. It is known for its gorgeous sunsets, blackberry bushes, artisans, and orcas swimming by the north end of the Island.
Today, I arrived on the Island and during a pre dinner walk along the magic mile*, the most extraordinary event transpired before my very eyes. It was sunset and as I gazed in wonder, the water broke and a black, sleek, giant of the sea emerged. Nothing less than a humpback whale. I have seen dozens of orcas that leave me breathless every single time, but, never in my 45 years of living and visiting on the westcoast have I spotted a humpback.
To see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat at sunset with the coastal mountains as backdrop is nothing less than spectacular.
Research from a brain scientist:
What intrigues although doesn’t surprise me is the research coming forward from Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, a physician and brain scientist at Duke University. She emphasizes the importance of taking these walks in nature. “Hands down, the best place to reset your brain is in nature. When you take a walk in nature, you’re combining the trance-like state that walking puts you in, with the sense of tranquility nature provides. This contemplative time activates the brain’s default mode network. This is the part of the brain that allows you to unlock solutions to deep problems, and inspires a sense of collective well-being in people. You just need to give it free time to do its job.”
We are busy people, and often worn out by illness and care giving. I will now make a wild proposition for us all, including me. For our good health we need to take ourselves outdoors for one hour every single day. One hour out of 24.
According to research at the U of Minnesota We can expect these benefits from a daily dose of nature:
Nature heals: it contributes to your physical well-being, reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones.
Nature soothes: it helps us cope with pain as we become absorbed in the trees, plants, water and other elements. We are genetically programmed to respond to nature and we can be distracted from our discomfort.
Nature restores: Our general well-being is impacted by nature, including meaningfulness and vitality.
A walk in a park, a forest, by a river or an ocean. Moodle along to savour what you notice. Slow down for 1/24 hours each day. Refresh yourself with the beauty of nature.
Some people are not in a position to walk an hour but it might be possible to drive to a bench by a river or in a park where you can walk for a little bit, followed by sitting quietly on that bench listening, looking, and smelling the crisp air. Savouring your life and the beauty around you.
I wonder what tomorrow’s walk will reveal? This week may be just the start of a new daily habit and one not confined to an hour on the weekend. I hope it becomes one for you too.
Note 1:) * The magic mile is otherwise known as Berry Point Road, a seaside road on the north end of Gabriola Island, overlooking Georgia Strait and the mainland of BC and the stunning coastal mountains.
Note 2:) I wonder why it is so hard for many people to take one hour a day. I know we are busy and there are a myriad of reasons including illness. Consequently, I am interested in an experiment where we make that daily hour sacrosanct and observe what happens.
Note 3:) I was unable to get my own photo, of the whale, with my trusty iphone tonight. Not enough light and a little too far out. Sadly I didn’t bring my camera this trip. Thank you dear readers for continuing to show up here. I am deeply honoured to have your company once a week. Warm regards, Trudy