I spent this weekend camping out at a music festival in Chillicothe, IL, just a few miles from Peoria. It doesn’t really seem like the kind of a place a music festival would be held, but thousands of people came for it.
It was the first time I had been “camping” since last year and no matter how hard I tried to prepare, somehow I still wasn’t. Peanut butter and bread and granola bars doesn’t exactly cut it when you are out in the sun for 12 hours a day. And sunscreen can only do so much. And ponchos though useful, don’t do much against a wind that knocks in the wall of your tent so it blusters against you throughout the night. There was no electricity, no running water, and I know, it’s horrible, no smartphone. It was rough, to say the least.
Yet though all the suffering, I still have come back feeling refreshed, relaxed, and renewed. The struggle of living out in a field for a few nights, of getting only the sleep that nature allowed me, of being encrusted in mud has somehow been therapeutic. Because through all of that, I was pulled out of the rut of the everyday. Instead of focusing on and stressing about getting my eight hours, I rose with the sun, and walked through an empty field. Instead of sitting in front of a fan to hide from the summer sun, I walked barefoot in cool mud.
We always talk about the call of the soil, the beckoning of the earth. We speak of taking care of the land, because it is the land that has always taken care of us. And even though I have never been a farmer, it’s clear to me that we all have this attachment to nature. Taking the time to be outside can do nothing but cleanse us of all of nitty gritty of the everyday that bogs us down. Whether it’s working on a farm, caring for a garden, or just taking a walk through a forest, everyone can do with a bit of outdoor therapy. I know I’ll be making sure I continue to.