I’m not always great with stress. Stress is a part of life that no one wants, but everyone has to deal with. However, I feel less stressed when I am surrounded by plants. The reason I love the Northwest is because of the nature. Lately, in my gardening class, we’ve been studying how nature affects our overall health. I’ve read articles that say being outside allows your mind to rest. I believe it. Because when I lived in Washington, I was far more relaxed than I have ever been staying in the city.
The calmest I have ever felt was when I would drive back roads alone. Just me, my camera and a backpack of books and journals. My way of distressing was looking up a random city on google maps then driving to it, all for some hot chocolate, antique shopping and along the way, photography. In Washington, there are tons of hills, many where at the top you can spy a fantastic view. While driving the back roads, I’d keep a look out for those hilltops—where the trees parted, and you felt like you could see everything.
In those moments, I could feel my stress melt away. The further I got away from the town where my life was, the smaller my problems seemed to be. Driving was a simple way to gain clarity. A method for me to back away from a situation and see it for what it really was. During those drives, I would also remember everything I was grateful for. My friends and family, where I live, my ability to go out and see new places. Outside of the city is where I am able to catch a glimpse of the good with the bad and see everything for what it really is.
While going on these drives, I was always surrounded by forest. Giants are what I like to call them. Mountain ranges and trees are some of the few things that make me feel small. There’s peace to feeling small. When driving the mountain pass, my life, my stress, everything going on the world is nothing compared to the beauty around me. It becomes a sudden realization that some of the most beautiful things will still be there no matter what I do.
I return to my life when the sun hits the horizon. With a clear mind, and an appreciation for my small, simple life. Nature exists to be alive. Something I feel I could do better. To truly live, is to appreciate. Through stress, I can forget to live, but in the mountains, it brings my thoughts back to what it means to me to be alive. While I may not be able to reach nature as easily here in Rexburg, I can stand on top of a hill and look out to where the city ends. Where the fields begin and lead up to the mountains that surround us. The distant sand dunes and snowy peaks. I still feel peace when I see them in the distance. Like old friends.