Letting Nature Heal

This past week, I’ve been far more open and revealing than normal with my posts about introversion and empathy.

That’s not easy. Although, I admit that once both pieces were posted, I slept better.

For balance, I made sure my dogs and I got plenty of time in nature, walking in the valley or running in the forest.

It’s shoulder season here in Idaho’s central mountains – some days autumn, other days winter because nature is messing with us – which for me, at least, makes finding routes and deciding what to wear a bit challenging. My dogs, however, are always all in and never worry about wardrobe. Their enthusiasm is contagious.

Some soothing scenes from the past week, helping me keep things in perspective…

field and trees
The dogs alerted me to a herd of elk crossing my lot in the early morning of October 18th. By the time I grabbed my phone/camera, most had disappeared into the shrubs along the creek, but you can see the last one as a buff-colored dot near the shrubs in front of the bright yellow cottonwoods in the middle of the photo. When I edited this photo, I was struck by the contrast in colors of dark clouds, trees, field grasses and lawn.
dogs on forest trail
Later on the morning of October 18th the boys and I went for a trail run in an area where the Forest Service is burning slash piles from summer thinning. Some areas were still smoldering. The boys instinctively knew to stay away from the blackened ground.
dogs running in snowy yard
The morning of October 19th felt more like winter, with big fat flakes of snow falling to the delight of the boys chasing each other in the yard.
dogs walking on rural road
A day later, October 20th, the sun had returned and the snow had melted at our elevation in the valley. The boys and I enjoyed strolling along a country road, ushered on our way by several red tailed hawks like the one seen in flight to the right of the nearest telephone pole in this photo.
dogs running on snowy trail
On October 21st, wanting to play in some snow, I took the boys for a trail run in the same area where we saw the slash burning three days earlier. With the snow, no worries about hot spots. Perfect running conditions. Happy dogs, happy human.
And this afternoon – October 22nd – a bald eagle soaring overhead as the boys and I strolled along a country road. (The heavy breathing you hear is my Malamute, Conall.)

Life is good. Always challenging, intriguing, puzzling, mystifying, frustrating, enlightening…. If you pay attention, though, it’s always changing and never boring.

Feature photo: fall colors in the forest October 18th, including tamaracks (larch trees) turning color among the evergreen pines and firs in the distance.

10 thoughts on “Letting Nature Heal”

  1. The national park next to my house does large controlled burns every spring. I always find myself out running those days and it always seems like I’m running through a smokers’ lounge. It must be interesting (scary) to live in a place where true forest fires are a possibility. The closest forests to me are a good 15 miles away. And I haven’t heard about any fires over the 15 years I’ve lived here.

    I can relate to what you wrote about telling your secrets in blog posts. It can be freeing. But for me it can also be agitating. Sometimes I sleep worse.

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    1. Forest fires are unfortunately a reality and way of life here, and getting worse. There’s a FS smokejumper’s base nearby, which is reassuring. In recent years there have been fires burning within a handful of miles of my house, billowing plumes of smoke rising high in the sky before settling back down to blanket the area for days, even weeks. Thousands of FS land burns, some fires extinguished fully only when the first snows of winter fly. This summer, thankfully nothing nearby, but one 30 mls away nearly cancelled that trail race I ran back in September.
      Keep writing and sharing. You never know who you might help…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your dogs are wonderful! I love escaping to the trails for healing with my dog as well. I read your empath post and it was a lot to take in. It seems I am a reluctant empath myself. I don’t know why I have a hard time calling myself an empath. It feels… braggy? I don’t know. Like, what if I say I am an empath – but then I totally miss that a friend of mine is in pain. It’s never happened, but I feel if I start to say I ALWAYS know other’s emotions I am sure to miss something important and thus diminish someone else’s reality and pain and I guess I just can’t accept that responsibility… I am not even sure if any of that makes sense.

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    1. Thanks! My post about being introverted was shared by trail running friends on Facebook any many commenters said I’d described them, so I’m convinced that trail running is a good fit for introverts. (And with dogs, even better!) I totally get what you’re saying about admitting being an empath; it’s why I debated internally about even writing let alone publishing that post because yes, it feels a little braggy. But…it’s who we are, even if invisible to others, and why should we apologize for it? I think we put high expectations on ourselves to focus on and help others, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to cut ourselves some slack, to avoid burnout. Oh wait, that’s why we run trails with our dogs, right?!

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      1. I hope I didn’t make it sound like I thought you were braggy! I felt you were very genuine in your post. I just feel like I wouldn’t sound so genuine myself. But you are right I should cut myself slack, and head to the trails 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No worries, didn’t take it that way at all. That’s what time/age gives us – and time on the trails: the ability to stop taking too much too personally. I appreciate that you read, related, and commented!

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  3. I love your dogs and you have a wonderful place to live. My second dog was an Aussie/Malamute mix, Molly. She was something from out of this world, far more a friend than a pet. My current dogs are an Akbash dog and a mini-Aussie, both rescues. In between I’ve had several Siberian huskies, some mutts, another Aussie. For me being outside with dogs is as good as it gets.

    As for introversion and empathy — I’m also an introvert and an empath. Most of the time this is fine, but sometimes it can lead quickly to psychic overload. It’s been a journey learning to distinguish those things which pertain to me from those things that do not. One of my best teachers was teaching business communication at the university level for 13 years. Business majors are almost exclusively extroverts and absolutely NOT empathetic. I had to learn that what they sometimes dished out to me would not (if returned) affect them at all. It was good. I’ve written about introversion on my blog at various points, but not recently. Since so many people believe it means shy, reclusive or not liking people, I wanted to refute those ideas.

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    1. Thanks, Martha; believe me, I know how lucky I am to have canine companions and an abundance of nature within easy reach! Quite the collection of dogs you’ve journeyed with over the years, although I’m having trouble envisioning an Aussie/Mal mix 🙂 If ever there was a breed of dog that was an empath, I’d say it was the Malamute. So tuned into not just people (especially babies and small children), but other dogs (gentle with puppies, good ability to read dog body language) and all the wildlife we encounter. Conall is my radar, my barometer, my eyes and ears, whether in town or in the forest; his body language when encountering people, dogs or wildlife tells me instantly everything I need to know: friend or foe. My Aussie? Looking for squirrels 🙂

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