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sunnysideupI love nature!  I grew up in New Hampshire, a mostly rural state with plenty of majestic woods, ponds, lakes, and the White Mountains.

Many of my very few happy childhood memories of our small family spending the day at the lake.  We were very poor, so we did that a lot.  I took to water like a frog!  I love swimming to this day.

I would get pissed when I would have to wait after lunch to get back into the water!  I would stay in so long my skin would get all pruny.  And I loved hunting for frogs and turtles.  I was worlds away from all my troubles.

Crystal Lake From My Childhood

Crystal Lake From My Childhood

When I was a little older, say 10-13, I would leave on early summer mornings and explore all day by myself.  Even in the winter I would escape my family misery to go sledding or to build snow forts.  I often wouldn’t return until the lights came on; my signal I had to get my ass in the house.

Exploring the woods provided me an outlet for my angst and pain.  I felt connected to everything.  I always found the woods to be so serene, so worthy of all kinds of adventures.

When I got older, part of my juvenile delinquency program, we would go on hiking and camping trips for days.  I discovered the Man On The Mountain! (alas, his face broke off the mountain a few years back 😦 ).

Old Man Of The Mountain

Old Man Of The Mountain

I loved those times!  It was the first time in my life that I was challenged on arduous hikes, and then rewarded with the most majestic views from atop mountains in the White Mountains.

My college, Plymouth State College in Plymouth New Hampshire, was just minutes from Tenney Mountain.  I learned how to ski there and learned to love it!  I never progressed past the beginner slopes, but my love for nature was even more solidified.

Plymouth State College

Plymouth State College

When my children were old enough, and I mean I am talking Nick was 5 and Matt 3, I would take them into the woods for long hikes and snacks.

As a matter of fact, for the majority of the time I had them–until my ex and her parents brainwashed them into hating me, and so I haven’t seen them in 10 years–we spent almost all of our visitation time in nature.

I am proud of the fact that I instilled in my boys a true passion, appreciation, and respect for nature.  I taught them to fish, hike, build fires, hunt frogs.  When they were only 7 and 5 I took them on a very challenging hike in the White Mountains; they did incredibly well.  I hope that they still have that profound love of nature that I do.

White Mountain Range N.H.

White Mountain Range N.H.

Even in my worst days of alcoholism, I always took walks in the woods.  I did a lot of fishing.  For me, spending time in nature, is like spending time with my inner self.

Every time I explore the woods, go swimming, go fishing, I feel like I am truly home.  I can’t get enough of the sights, the smells, the sounds.

We are going on a skiing trip on January 28th, I can’t wait!  Next time you are feeling blue, get out into nature!  I don’t mean a park.  I mean, if you have the access, deep into the woods!  Leave your phone at home.  Go find yourself.  You’ll be waiting there, I guarantee it.

(just a side note:  I do not condone hunting unless it is a controlled hunt for thinning a herd, or for true survival.  I shot a squirrel with my BB Gun at age 12 and felt so bad about it, I gave it a formal funeral and never killed another creature again.  Well, I might have skinned a few frogs…anyway.)