Nature Girl

by Abby on August 26, 2011

Me kayakingYou know how I decided I’m a shopaholic in denial? Well, it turns out I’m also a repressed nature girl. Who knew?!

I would never describe myself as an outdoorswoman. I prefer B&Bs to pup tents, carafes to canteens, down comforters to sleeping bags. I’m a big fan of electricity and indoor plumbing. Growing up, my California relatives were the outdoorsy ones. We went camping with them once or twice, but I could never get over the threat of bears and the lack of bathrooms. Also, I really hate bugs.

But last week at the lake I realized I loved being outdoors most of the time. Of course, it helped that the weather was beautiful and there were no mosquitoes. At home, I can’t step outside to put the trash out without my hair frizzing up from the humidity and acquiring a half-dozen mosquito bites.

One evening my mom and I went out in the kayak just before sunset. The water was smooth and calm, all the Jetskis and speedboats gone home. We glided silently along the shore, past willow branches and marsh grass, rippling the lake’s surface ever so slightly with our paddles. We spotted a blue heron, standing still as a statue at the water’s edge. We held our breath as we paddled closer to get a better look at his strange, elegant profile. A moment later, with an annoyed screech, the heron winged away to a more private perch.

ButterflyThen there were the bunnies and chipmunks the kids spotted, the fish they caught, the grasshoppers and the butterflies and the dragonflies they chased. I think I was more excited than they were the time I was reeling in the hose and found a tiny, tan frog hiding underneath. You sure don’t see those in the city.

I had forgotten how urban our surroundings are at home until we were at the lake. We live in a leafy neighborhood where we regularly encounter insects and rabbits and even a stray fox or two, so sometimes you can forget you’re in a city. But at the lake, there was no mistaking that we were far from a major urban area – the air, the quiet, the stars bright in the dark, dark sky.

Yeah, I could get used to that. In a place like that, there’s no worrying about whether the kids are getting enough exercise or fresh air. No forced marches to the park or playground for a daily dose of nature. Being outside is just…natural. It’s enough to make an outdoorswoman out of the most indoorsy person. I’ll just pretend I didn’t see those deep claw marks on the bear-resistant garbage cans.

TUNE O’ THE DAY: Writing this post made me think of the Lemonheads song, “The Outdoor Type,” about a guy who lies about being outdoorsy to impress a girl.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello August 26, 2011 at 8:20 am

I will admit I am not a camping kind of guy, roughing it at the Hyatt is my idea of a campout. I do love being outside though, just enjoying how peaceful it can be. The lovely Miss Teresa and I go boating on a regular basis and just enjoy the scenery. We have 5 rivers, a harbor and hundreds of creeks here in Charleston and we have been in almost all of them. It is so calming to be able to just drift, take pics, anchor and have a nice lunch.

I would like to know where the heck you went that there were no mosquitoes, I didn’t know such a place existed. We have so many here in the Lowcountry and you do have to slather up with the bug juice just to walk out the door.

Hope all goes well for you this weekend with Irene and you guys are safe.

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Malia Jacobson August 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm

My family of origin is *extremely* outdoorsy, and my parents regularly took their entire young brood hiking and backpacking. Like, real camping, where you caught fish and fried it up with a frying pan you packed in on a campfire you started from scratch. So they set the standard quite high, and I have spent my entire life feeling a bit inferior because I am not that person. (Don’t love dirt, so-so on bugs, don’t feel totally safe sleeping outdoors in a tent.) I am outdoorsy, just not THAT outdoorsy, and I’m beginning to feel like that’s enough. I would love to try kayaking. Have you heard of “glamping?” That’s my kind of camping. If only it weren’t so darn spendy!

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Kim August 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm

It sounds like your trip was fantastic if it allowed you to settle into nature 🙂 I think having children inspires us to get reacquainted with nature, because every little thing fascinates our kids and the slowness of being in nature helps us as moms. I hope Irene will be kind to you all this weekend!

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Angie August 27, 2011 at 8:29 am

I agree with Kim… it sounds like this vacation is just what you needed! And I wish I could have tagged along in your suitcase. Like you, I enjoy the outdoors in ideal conditions. I don’t enjoy extreme heat, humidity, cold, snow or rain. I guess I’m a spa kind of girl, even when I’m outside. I am pretty active, but I do most of my exercise in a climate controlled gym. And yet, we’ve been biking to school in the morning, and despite my disdain for heat and humidity, I’ve really enjoyed it so far!

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