On a recent trip to Boston, I found myself with a free day and no specific plans. Someone suggested a trip to Concord, Massachusetts and Walden Pond.
It’s been decades since I first learned about Henry David Thoreau and his two years in the woods. How exciting it was to visit the area where he wrote Walden in 1854.
In addition to being known as a philosopher, writer and abolitionist, Thoreau is considered one of the first environmentalists with his many philosophical contributions to the way we view nature. Thoreau was interested in people’s relationship with nature and studied this by living close to nature in a simple life. He published his experiences in the book Walden that argues that people should become intimately close to nature. He felt that the physical environment inspires us. He wrote in his poem “Walking”: “I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wilderness”
Fast forward to modern times and think about the book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv, where he states that humans, and especially children, are spending less and less time outdoors. Louv contends that lack of being outdoors might be contributing to behavior and attention deficit disorders. Could Thoreau ever have imagined the electronic devices that draw children to be indoors? Could he even consider the fears parents often have of letting their children run free outside?
Consider an afternoon hike in the park or building in the outdoors into your daily routine. Here are a few reasons you should go outside
- Improved short term memory
- Restored mental energy
- Stress relief
- Improved concentration
- Sharper thinking and creativity