My wife invited me to join her outside this morning for breakfast. It was a perfect temperature. The sun was shining brightly, already warming the cloudless, clear blue sky, but we were in refreshingly cool shade. Water bubbled and gurgled nearby. The birds were enjoying their normal chaotic chorus of morning cheer. Our dogs were on a silent hunt for green lizards in the plants and gardens around us.
There's something about the freshness of the morning outdoors. It clears my head and, augmented by a little black coffee, or a lot, prepares me for the day.
Like most people, I spend most of my working hours inside. But philosophers really have no schedule on normal days, so I can take breaks frequently and go outside. And I recommend that heartily. So much of our lives now is spent indoors - for most people, it's an endless cycle with various repetitions from the house to the car to the office to the gym to the office to the car to a store, or maybe a restaurant, and then back home, with only the briefest interludes of fresh air and any contact with nature. One of my favorite things to do is to get into a pool, mid morning, or zen walk in the neighborhood for a couple of miles, right before dinner, just taking it all in. You don't have to be Thoreau to realize the importance of a little nature dip every day.
Nature has this way of awakening creative thoughts. I was once in a pool at a resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, the day before I was to give a talk to a large group of executives, and I had to jump out of the water, run into the spa building nearby, and ask for as much paper as they could give me. Armed with legal pads, I returned to the pool area and sat and wrote three book chapters that had suddenly poured into my head as I relaxed under the desert sky.
One of my favorite things is a walk on the beach nearby, at low tide, on the firmly packed sand. The sounds of the waves and seabirds form a background soundtrack for what almost always becomes either a rush of creative thought, or a refreshing meditative experience.
How do you get a small dose of nature each day?