Autumn has commenced, turning the leaves into vibrant shades red, orange, and gold around my home in the Pacific Northwest. I have enjoyed getting out and experiencing the crisp air as rainy season begins, but soon enough the precipitation will encourage many to hibernate from the outside world.
In my last post, I shared how being in nature transforms us into creative, curious, and friendly humans, but getting outside to reap these benefits isn’t just for summertime when the sun is shining bright! Below are some practical ideas for how to get your nature fix in each and every season.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Observe the New Autumn Sky
As summer fades to fall and the earth rotates, our neighbor galaxy, Andromeda, becomes visible to the naked eye (learn how to spot it here). You can also see the Cassiopeia, Pegasus, and Cygnus constellations. Pack up you wool blanket and a thermos of hot cocoa, and head away from the city lights.
Take a Walk in the Rain
Did you know that walking in the rain burns extra calories, changes your perspective, and has a calming effect on you? Put on those rain boots and splash in a few puddles while you’re at it!
Watch Birds Migrate
In the fall, birds migrate from areas of decreasing resources, like food and nesting locations, to regions of increasing resources. If you are in the northern hemisphere, you can watch flocks travel southward in beautiful patterns in the sky. Find out when peak migration is in your area here.
Drive to a Fall Foliage Destination
One of the most enjoyable aspects of autumn is watching the leaves transform. Take a drive out to one of these spectacular fall foliage locations!
Have a Fall Picnic with Friends
What could be more cozy than a fall picnic?! Look here to find some inspiration for the perfect fall comfort foods to bring along.
All you need is a magnifying glass, a piece of black paper, and a cold, snow day! Place the black paper outside, but out of the snow, until it is cold enough for the snowflakes to fall on without melting immediately (about 20 minutes). Catch some snowflakes on the paper and take out your magnifying glass to view the gorgeous, one-of-a-kind crystals.
Watch a Meteor Shower
There are three major meteor showers each winter: the Geminids, the Ursids, and the Quadrantid. Spend the night bundled up under the falling stars, and make a few wishes while you’re at it!
Tap a Maple
In late winter/early spring, the maple sap begins to rise, inviting us to tap the trees and create scrumptious syrups. See how to tap a maple tree here.
Set Up a Bird Feeder
Sometimes it’s just too cold or windy or rainy to want to leave the comforts of home. In those cases, it’s always nice to have the option to invite nature to you. Plus, making a DIY bird feeder is the perfect project for a drizzly winter afternoon!
Track a Plant or Tree
Special transformations take place amongst the flora of the earth in spring. Identify a tree or plant near your home and make a conscious effort to notice the changes it goes through as it blooms throughout the season. You can even take bi-weekly photos or sketch the process!
Look out for Constellations
As the cloudy winter sky gives way to clearer evenings, pend some time stargazing. The constellation highlights of the spring night sky include the Big Dipper, Virgo, Leo, and Cancer.
Spring is the perfect time to plant flowers, vegetables, shrubs, and trees. If you’re an amateur gardener like me, check out these easy to grow plants.
In some regions there is only a short window of time when the wildflowers are at their peak – don’t miss those beautiful blossoms! If you live in the Pacific Northwest like I do, plan a day to go on one of these hikes to see the wildflowers. If you live elsewhere, just do a search for the best wildflower viewings in our area!
Do Life Outside
This one is pretty self-explanatory – do whatever you were going to do, but do it outside. Need to do some work on the laptop? Do it in your backyard. Want to read a book? Go to a park close by and read on a bench. Planning to get together with some friends? Meet up for a picnic.
Try the Japanese Practice of Forest Bathing
In the 1980’s, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture , Forestry, and Fisheries coined the term Shinrin-Yoku, translating to “forest bathing”. The practice is meant to be an immersive experience in which you use all five senses to take in a natural setting for psychological and physiological health.
Forage for Food
There’s no better way to learn to appreciate the way God provides for us through nature than foraging for your own food. This site provides an interactive map of the culinary bounty available for foraging in your city, maybe even your own neighborhood!
Take a Backpacking Trip
What better season to spend an extended period of time in nature than the summertime? Whether this is your first backpacking trip or your fiftieth, there are always new things to notice, breathe in, and experience in the great outdoors.
Go Swimming in the Wild
Skip the pool this summer and opt for a more natural setting at a lake, river, or ocean. If you’re willing to travel to experience some of the world’s most beautiful swimming holes, check out this article for some ideas on where to go!
Experience a New Landscape
I love traveling to new places and experiencing landscapes different from what I’m used to. While I haven’t had the opportunity do much traveling abroad, I would love to get out there and see the rainforests of the French Polynesia, the Tundra of Siberia, the glaciers of the Swiss Alps, and the wetlands of Estonia. Locally
Don’t let the inclement weather keep you indoors all season!