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Being Happy Outdoors

Rebecca Bennington Blog Picture

Being outdoors is important to me. It brings me happiness and centers me. This could be a simple walk around my neighborhood or out in the woods. But on this particular day, I find myself pulling into one of my places to walk in the woods along a large creek. I keep these trekking poles in my car to help the journey.  https://amzn.to/3VjOW3O.  I have come to this place to hunt for a quarry that can be elusive and seldom seen. Sometimes, I walked past it only to return and finally see it. I am in my happy place now, not only with a successful stalk but also with my time taken and I am  beginning to relax. During this walk, I think things through and even talk to myself while searching for my prize. But look what I found in the woods of Oak and Maple trees: a bamboo stick. I would like to know how it got here and whether it was used by another hunter looking for the same quarry. I begin to poke the dead leaves among stumps and bases of older trees that may not last until the next big windstorm, where they will fall and provide a perfect environment for my quarry next season. Walking, I find the happiness and relaxation I was also searching for. I walk deeper into the woods and find a small creek; the ground is still soaked from earlier rain, and I can feel the humidity rise a little. There has to be a place to find what I’m looking for. I have walked for a quarter of a mile, but it had been a slow pace, looking and stopping to scrape leaves and other debris. I was searching and thinking. About an hour later, I discovered I was not thinking much of anything; I was walking and listening to the birds talk back and forth. I begin to get ideas for my other hobby and take notes in my head where I can come back to, drop a line in the water, and start a tug of war with a fish. It may be too early for my quarry to come out of hiding. 

By now, you either want to know or have already figured out what I am looking for besides an afternoon of mindless happiness. I search for that earthy, nutty-tasting Morel Mushroom or just simply Morels. There are two types of Morel hunters: secretive, which means they never tell where they hunt, and the other’s share. These people find the morels, gather their bounty, and point others in the direction where they were found. It’s delightful to find parents with children and find the morel then send the kids off to find them. But on this day, no morels nor few people were out. The rain that was coming in chased people away. As I walk back along a swollen creek from all the rain, I again begin to think some. I have a good life. Where else can you be happy searching for a fungus? As I walk, I think of one of my favorite books I purchased here https://amzn.to/3xaQ9kB.    “A River Runs Through It,” by American author Norman Maclean (1902–1990), published in 1976. This book talks about another hobby, Fly Fishing, in which the characters are a father, and his two sons fly fish. They fly fish not only as a passion but also to the streams to find their happiness and, at times, to deal with unhappy times. I strongly suggest this book.  

I finally reached my car. Even though there were no morels in the bag, I found myself happier than I was when I first arrived. Now, you may not desire to hunt for a fungus, but take up that stick you find, poke the ground, walk among the trees, watch the squirrels, and listen to the birds talk back and forth; they may be talking about you. I close here with one of the book’s last lines: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”  

 

Craig Gallaugher

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