Guess what’s just around the corner…that’s right, season seven of the Walking Dead and season six of Game of Thrones, but viewing those two blood-spattered shows is an indoor activity and involves little to no physical activity. No, the autumnal equinox is just around the corner (September 22nd, actually) and that means fall is just around the corner as well.
The autumnal equinox is when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the sun (same thing occurs in March with the vernal equinox). It is also the day with almost equal amounts of light and dark and ushers in the season we call fall/autumn. And it means the temperature begins to moderate permitting outdoor activities without sweating away half your body weight. So, all you seniors out there that have been enjoying air-conditioned, indoor activities for the past few months, it’s time to get outside, enjoy the cooler temps and get active.
Go for a walk. But not just any walk. Turn it into a nature walk, also know as a hike.
Please don’t simply walk around an idle high school track or your block or housing complex. Get out into the woods every once-in-a-while and enjoy all the sights, sounds and smells the forest has to offer and take a friend along…or not, there are times when solitude is nice. Use the internet machine and learn how to identify the local flora and fauna your woods have to offer. You’ll be amazed by the variety within just a few dozen acres of forest.
And if you’re feeling really adventurous, try a little geocaching…it’s like Pokémon Go! for adults. Google it and see if it’s for you (you can Google Pokémon Go! as well if you’re curious, but be warned. It can be as addictive as crack).
Take up bird watching. Yes, bird watching. It is certainly linked to the above activity as it gets you out into the wild, but there can also be a competitive component involved as well…just watch the 2011 movie “The Big Year,” which stars Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson and you’ll see what I mean (and yes, I was as surprised as you to discover that Hollywood had produced a movie about bird watching, of all things).
Use the help of the Audubon Society or the American Birding Association to get you started identifying the birds in your area by both sight and sound, as the auditory component is perhaps more important than the visual. Better yet, join a local birding club…you’ll be astounded how many people are involved in this hobby. Start small and simply identify the birds you see in your neighborhood and then expand your range, walking in search of your avian friends as much as possible.
Become an amateur outdoor/wildlife photographer. Once again, grab your camera or smart phone (no professionals here), head outside and simply observe. Snap pics of anything that seems interesting…a dew-soaked spider web, sunlight streaming through the clouds, a small brook meandering through leaves of red and orange, a chipmunk on a log, fog rolling along a forest floor…whatever YOU find appealing. Remember, you’re just doing this for fun, relaxation, and to get out walking during those glorious autumn days. And with today’s digital cameras and the storage capacity of home computers, it’s easier than ever to snap and store as many pics as your heart desires.
So did you sense a trend with the suggestions? Get out of the AC and get into the woods as the temps cool and the leaves turn and discover the calming catharsis that is the forest and wild spaces.