Momentous Moments – they can happen everyday
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
You brought me back to the natural beauty of the Westcoast Trudy! How magical you saw a humpback whale.
Curious where are your most favourite convenient ☺️ nature walks in Ottawa?
Along the canal, up to the locks and on to Hogs Back Falls and back.
Along the canal, north, to the Ottawa River, west from there, sometimes, across a bridge to the Gatineau and then east or west. Always on pathways. Always through the trees and or beside water. “Through leaves, over bridges.” Several like this. Let’s collaborate. These are the easy ones, no car required.
Thanks, Trudy for the proposition of 1/24. I find it is easier to “get out” when I’m traveling (as I’m now to New Mexico). Humpbacks should be arriving in SE Alaska soon. Enjoy your trip.
Hi Nancy Jo. It is always easier when one is away. That’s why I got to spot that humpback yesterday. However, I am rarely away so that leaves most of our 365 days a year when I’m home.I am announcing my intention here before the snow flies because I am such a wimp in the five month long winter. My lovely friend truly believes that it is all about the clothing. Period. Go to the trouble of dressing appropriately and take your body outdoors. (not recklessly) We who live in northern climates have respect for winter. I am so going to regret being this bold here.:-))
Hi Trudy, Thanks for the reminder to get outside in nature EVERY DAY – I needed that! So lovely to see that picture from the magic mile – it evoked many memories of my time spent on Gabriola! What a treasure our memories are … take good care, Mary
Hi Mary: when I write something like this I am reminding myself of what I need to do. I am so happy when it is also a reminder to others. Enjoy your nature walks on beautiful Prince Edward Island, on the other side of the continent from where I am right now.
Such fond memories of Gabriola when you lived there. A magical and healing time each time I visited.
Yes, Gabriola Island is one of those special places. Great memories for me too. Vancouver, where you are, has great urban beauty. The glorious Stanley Park; water taxis to get to the North shore and elsewhere; urban hikes all over including out at UBC and the Burrard Inlet, at your doorstep. Just a very few possibilities. Imagine the good fortune of being able to live in the heart of Vancouver and getting to experience nature’s beauty as soon as you step out the door. I love your city.
Trudy, what a blessing! Would it be weird for me to say I’m glad you didn’t have your camera, that instead of fumbling to capture it you were simply able to be there in the moment? (yes, I’m weird that way) I am looking out at so much snow and ice, and am wondering how I’d convince myself to be out in it for an hour a day at this time of year, but I’m already scheming ways I can do an hour a day outside of a building. Cuddled in a blanket on the back porch, under the protective arms of a huge ponderosa pine? Thank you so much for this.
Hi Colorado, and you who live in a wonderland of beauty. Thank you for hi-lighting the importance of sometimes leaving your camera at home. Great point. Simply reveling in the beauty of nature itself with no need for an image other than what is in our mind and heart. Climate can be a significant obstacle. No doubt in our climates we won’t manage 365 days a year but let’s see what is possible. Stay warm on your adventures.
I’m thrilled for you Trudy to have the experience of seeing a humpback after all this time. And I’m in total agreement about being in nature daily – one has to wonder what the world would be like if we all had this healing habit. xoxoxox
Thanks Janice. We all know about this. Yet, it still takes planning and perseverance to live accordingly. My koan for this next 12 months is to create that hour everyday. 💨 (now this will the challenge)
Trudy I couldn’t agree more. I worship in the church of nature everyday. It nurtures, nourishes, and steadies me with its unbridled awe. As John Muir says, “Into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.”
I recently witnessed that part of nature where you get nourished Pat. Magnificent part of the world from your doorstep. I close my eyes and see it still. Thank you.