Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

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“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

—John Muir, Our National Parks

I have always found that spending time in the outdoors is an incredibly soothing activity, whether it involves a strenuous, miles-long hike, or just a lovely meander through a meadow.

Either way, I always come back refreshed and rejuvenated. The fresh air, the sunshine, it always gives me a mood boost.

The last few weeks have been personally exhilarating, but also emotionally draining. During times like these, I find myself craving two things: more reading time, and more outdoors time.

Thankfully, mother nature has obliged, and given us an incredibly mild winter here in North Carolina. I find myself spending as much time as possible sitting on our back deck with a book, observing our own small patch of wildlife – our backyard is filled with bird feeders, birdhouses, a stone bath or two…and we are visited every day by cardinals, sparrows, finches, rabbits, chipmunks, and rascally squirrels. Occasionally, a blue jay or red-tailed hawk grace us with their presence.

Yesterday, we went for a hike at King’s Mountain National Military Park, on the border between North and South Carolina. King’s Mountain and Crowder’s Mountain straddle the state border, and this is only our second time visiting the SC park – usually we opt for the beautiful views and trails at Crowder’s Mountain on our side of the border, in North Carolina.

Take a look at the photo above, and you may not be that impressed. The trees are bare, the ground is dry, and it still looks very much like a winterscape in the woods here. Yet. Yet. The sun was shining in a beautiful blue sky, the birds and frogs were loud and active, and the trail was the epitome of peace and serenity.

Sometimes, a person just needs to put down a book and go outside. Take a break from the chores, work committments, and daily life. Even better, make time in nature a part of daily life. I promise you won’t regret it.

Oh, and the title of this post? That’s Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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