Finding a Little Joy Outdoors

Mar 31, 2020

Yesterday, my heart jumped a bit when I rounded a corner at a park and walked into a chorus of spring peepers. To me, the sound made by hundreds of these thumbnail-sized frogs is one of the surest signs that winter is over.

I’m tempted to say that in a time of anxiety, the awakening of the peepers is a sign that life goes on. But I’m not sure that’s the true value. What I experienced when I heard those spring peepers was a moment of pure joy.

And though my walk didn’t change anything about the COVID-19 situation, it gave me just a little boost of joy-driven resilience to face whatever comes next.

E. O. Wilson, the inspirational entomologist and naturalist asserts that connecting to nature isn’t just a luxury, it’s a human need.

This idea is central to the mission of the Center for Environmental Education and Discovery.

So during a time when we’re feeling saddened and anxious as a result of COVID-19, I encourage you to get outside, and experience the natural world. This morning, I walked the trails at CEED and heard tufted titmouse, red-winged blackbirds, and chickadees singing. Red-bellied woodpeckers drummed on tree trunks in competition from a hundred yards away. Deer watched me with luminous and wary eyes and then bounded away. I saw the first green leaves sprouting from bushes lining the trail and skunk cabbage popping up in the vernal pools.

I also heard spring peepers. Just a couple. Not like the deafening chorus I heard at the other park. Possibly our CEED peepers are a bit behind. Or maybe there aren’t as many. Still, I heard them, and being immersed in all that nature brought me another little dose of healing joy.

Whether you walk alone, with a dog, with a family member, or with a socially distancing friend, get outside and see, hear, and feel nature. Come to CEED and walk our trails, or go to another park or open space that is still open. They are all priceless treasures where you can get healing joy for free.

Tom Pelletier, Board Chair

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