Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The beauty of a sick day

A few days ago, I had had it. Nothing was getting done, the topic for my column was just too boring to write about (believe it or not, some plants can be dull) and I couldn't come up with a timely alternative to save my ass. Getting my clients to call me back was like waiting for seeds to germinate, and all David dog could do was give me increasingly dirty looks for making him wait "just 5 more minutes." So, I did what any smart professional would do-- I got up, turned off the computer, took off my glasses, grabbed the leash and walked out the door. Yes, I walked out on my job that day--actually forgot all about it as we turned towards the baseball field just two blocks from the house. It was early spring afterall, I owed nature my attention, not my computer. Who knows, maybe I'd find a topic for my column in the woods.

After David had relieved himself on my neighbor's hellebores (sigh, dogs....), I remembered I had volunteered to water some young magnolia trees at the park by the pond and they were probably thirsty by now. So we headed on down.

Once we were there, I saw the "Do not Swim" sign too late as David dove in before I could finish screaming, NO! I yelled like any hysterical mom would, worried to death about the toxins and bacteria he could be ingesting. He got the point and exited pretty quickly. Before he could spray the slimy muck on me, I shooed him over to the stream a few feet away. Back in water, splashing like a happy fish, the fear of diptheria dissipated each time he dove under to catch some falling leaves. Dogs. They can teach us a thing or two about finding joy in the simple things.

On the path back up the hill, I watched David run into a field covered with waxy, golden flowers. I knew they were invasive weeds, but I write a blog called Neglected Beauty,  so of course I loved them. As I watched him run like a drunk puppy through mounds of Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna), it dawned on me, this was exactly where I was supposed to be. On a walk, in the woods, with my dog. Not at a desk, stressing about things out of my control, waiting for the phone to ring. Still without a topic for the column, I didn't care. I got one for the blog.

We found things on the forest floor. Nice things. Pretty things. I didn't care if many of them turned out to be invasive weeds. (I am a very open-minded Master Gardener). There's reason after all for every single plant in this world. Besides, they were a pleasant charge of color under the gray clouds on an exceptionally drab April afternoon.

When we returned home, I took out my journal, I wrote down the following list. I realized a sick of this job day totally counts as a sick day, in my book at least. There's a whole lot of healing to be had outside in nature. The first step is to disengage from that whiny internet relationship that you spend more time with than your loved one (true fact). Next time you find yourself stuck working remotely from home with stress piling high and no end in sight, take a sick day, or a half of a sick day--even if it's just for a long walk. Your dog will thank you. So will Nature, she wants to be noticed, you know.

Prescription to de-stress (Tested):
Gently but firmly step away from your computer. 
Call in sick-- to your boss or yourself. 
Go outside. Take a walk. 
Go into the woods, urban or country. 
Take a deep breath. Exhale. 
Keep going. Breathe. Feel lighter. 
Pull out cell phone. Turn off ringer. Take a picture of the forest floor. 
Reminisce about discovering nature as a kid and playing outside. 
Think about how that made you feel. Enbrace that feeling for a bit.
Smile. Ask yourself why you don't do this more. 
Go home. Sit down. 
Write in day-timer: Remember to do this more.

1 comment:

David Edgerley Gates said...

Absolutely. Some days you just need to step outside and remind yourself that this nice afternoon is in fact your life, too.