The best relationships have us swearing we could never imagine life on our own; in the not-so-good ones, we’re positive that living alone (dirty laundry on the floor, brewing the coffee to our desired intensity, and going fishing whenever we feel like it) surely beats the heartbreak and drama of trying to manage two souls instead of one.
Whether you’re coupled up with Cupid or throwing darts his way, you can use Valentine’s Day as a time to reflect on the one bond that’s immune to breaking: our love affair with the outdoors. All of those characteristics you’ve been searching high and low for in another person? The outdoors serves them up, plus some, and requires very little in return. We think that sounds like a match made in heaven.
Here are five reasons why the outdoors is the perfect partner:
Winning sense of humor
Decided to leave the backpack (containing rain jacket) at home on that sunshiny mid-July bike ride? Surprise! Who doesn’t love a quick must-duck-into-abandoned-barn pit stop before pedaling home with the token mark of foul-weather carelessness tattooed onto the backside of their cycling kit? The sun will most definitely come back out as soon as you pull into the driveway.
Generous giver of gifts
Alpenglow. Rainbows. Double Rainbows. Double overhead waves with an offshore breeze. Breeze in the tallgrass prairie at dusk. Dusk. Dawn. The green of spring shooting valiantly forth. Summer’s light, late into the evening. Golden aspen and fiery maple in the fall. Tiny paw prints on the crystalline winter snow.
A blessing and a curse, the human mind certainly knows how to spin its wheels. Something happens, though, when we spin on the bike – or run on trails, or ski, or hike, or float through waterways – that tends to quiet distracting mental banter. We may leave the house gripped with anxiety about work or finances or family, but each passing moment in the outdoors acts as a gentle balm. Like any good listener, nature lets us have our say – and then she offers birdsong and babbling brooks in return.
Sound advice giver
When Robert Frost came to the clearing in the woods, he opted for the path less taken, although – what could have really gone wrong if he’d chosen the other route? The outdoors excels at encouraging us to access our own innate wisdom. It provides subtle clues – a riffle in a stream, the movement and build-up of clouds in the sky – that help us make decisions, and then accompanies us through the ensuing experience. Which isn’t to say that sometimes nature’s recommendations are more explicit: if you ignore the hair-raising buzz of lightning on the mountain, then you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.
Sexy as hell
It’s not the clothes that you wear but how you wear them, right? The outdoors can rock the barren desert depths of Nevada just as well as the chaotic jungle cacophony of the Hawaiian islands. Sometimes it feels like wearing drizzly gray, and other times it wakes up and puts on a sherbet sunrise. Nature never says ‘oh, no, I can’t dance,’ it just shakes what its momma gave it. The outdoors is, without a doubt, one sexy beast.