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Finding Your Long-Lost Imagination

Black Diamond Mines Regional Park

Ode to My EveningTrails

The sun creates long shadows of the hills, seemingly altering the hills themselves.

The way the green, lush grass smells after basking in the hot sun all day.

The cold, evening air settles into the little gullies and dips, as if bedding down for the night; I feel as if I am disturbing them as I jog through.

The cows' baying moos can be heard echoing off the hills into the valleys, and from the valleys to the hills.

The constant hum of the crickets lulls your mind into peacefulness and quiet.

And the seasonally familiar croaks of the toads add to the menagerie.

Suddenly the crazy, cackling laugh of wild turkeys break through. And for a moment, the crickets and toads stand down.

In the far distance, the puppy-like yapping of coyotes reminds the others there are predators out here.

And above all, the brilliant stillness that somehow exists in a perfect union with this most beautiful "noise".

I wrote this poem a few weeks ago. I hadn't written a poem in years. I mean, not since college. But I really enjoyed crafting it, which happened while jogging in the hills near my home. And that, my friends, is my point. I came up with my first poem in 16+ years while outside, surrounded by nature.

Nature is entirely inspiring. And not just in the epic places. Yes, of course, the Swiss Alps and Mt. Everest and the Sierra Nevadas and the Rockies are epic-ly gorgeous and inspire all sorts of creativity.

But these here hills are part of a regional park right in my proverbial backyard. I go there very regularly. I know every single trail across all those thousands of acres like the back of my hand. And yet, being there is always inspiring. It gets my creative juices flowing.

Oak Tree At Sunset

When I'm outside, I find that my imagination runs wild. It's like a kid is inside my brain, running around in a super hero costume, making forts and fighting dragons. And he demands to be heard. I can't count how many book ideas I have come up with while hiking. I've given fake speeches and practiced interviews. I've had debates with Trump. I've eulogized my very-alive parents (and cried on the trail). I've envisioned my future, had debates with my husband and planned out survival tactics for a whole host of deadly scenarios. All in my head.

But, again, it doesn't need to be some epic vacation or stereotypically gorgeous location to feel that surge of creativity. Nature is everywhere and the outdoors is just out your door! The more you go, the easier it is for your brain to let go of the everyday noise and turn inward.

Case in point: two weekends ago, I took Furley (my best dog buddy) for a walk in the neighborhood while Brian (the husband) and Atticus (the step-son) played basketball in the park. I walked for a mere two miles, but in that time, I devised the plot for a fantastic novel. It is common for me to come up with book ideas while hiking, but this one was a doozy.

I told Brian and Atticus my storyline. Brian was somewhat unimpressed (he doesn't like crime/drama fiction so much), but Atticus was in love with it. He wanted to know the entire plot and how it ended and kept asking questions I had no answers to (it was only a two-mile walk!). My biggest fan was impressed, and I'll take that!

We are all so busy. Too busy. But when you have spare time, why use it to watch TV or get on Facebook or go roam a Target store when you can do something so immensely beneficial to your health, mind and soul?

Do yourself a favor - head out the door.

#poetry #writing #hiking #trailrunning