Posted: Sunday, July 1, 2012 1:10:38 AM
I watch as the painter’s semi-circular canvas of violets and reds slowly emerges above the golden horizon, awakening the world like the Aurora. The sound of bird chirps piercing the silent air and the beads of fresh dew glistening on my running shoes remind me that spring, my favorite season, has finally arrived. I, like the branches of a tree stretching toward the golden rays of the sun, am ready to embrace the new day with an early morning jog. This scene is typical of my observations during one of my family’s early morning exercises.
However, I have not always embraced my family’s schedule of waking up at 5:30 every day to exercise. During the busy school week, this routine leaves me yawning for more sleep after yet another late night of homework. Over the years, though, early outdoors exercise has not only brought my family closer but also given me a rare appreciation of nature that positively affects my daily life.
Until I began high school, my family lived in a house with a one and a half acre backyard. On some days, exercising would mean running laps around the yard, and other days exercising might entail jumping on the trampoline or simply frolicking with carefree gaiety. When my family moved closer to the city, exercising more often meant jogging on the streets or on the hills of a nearby park, and on snowy days, shoveling snow.
My love of nature has offered me windows unavailable to many of my friends. After a difficult day at school, for example, I find myself at ease after a walk outside. The outdoors offers me great autonomy, such as the pace at which I move. Likewise, when conflict arises in my family, a walk outside reminds us that we are a family that will always remain bonded by our affinity for the outdoors.
My familiarity with my natural surroundings benefits me in my extracurricular pursuits as well. When playing the violin, I often assign scenes of nature to particular passages; one section might remind me of the songs of crickets, while another passage in an orchestral work may resemble the rustling of bushes. Most importantly, however, nature has allowed a more reflective side of my personality to emerge from my primarily impulsive instincts. The quiet of the morning gives me time and space to reflect on my life and offers me the rare opportunity to slow down from my busy routine to appreciate every moment.
From their puzzled expressions when I describe my early morning experiences in the outdoors, many of my friends do not spend enough time connecting with nature. Nature is relevant to today’s Facebook-addicted and cell phone-attached teenagers more than ever. Its sights and sounds will bring out a more contemplative, more profound, and more human side of one’s personality. So, I urge you to venture out of doors. The birds are beckoning you with their songs, and the trees are inviting you with their waving branches.