Freedom in the outdoors, care of nature

I was on the phone in February with a friend from Atlanta who said her daffodils were blooming. 

The next time I talked to her it was overcast, grey, and her mood was low.

Here we had a cold spell under bright and sunny skies. Dressed in layers, I got out and did a slow and short run, the snow creaking under my feet. I was glad to be outside and free.

I will miss cold, crisp, energizing days. We tune into nature’s offerings, and we treasure them. Blossoms are coming and the treetops along the Mississippi will turn a soft green.

There will be more birdsong. I hope.

As I write, an awful lot of outdoor home decorations from the holidays hang on. Styrofoam plastic- laminated berries, glitter and artificial pine boughs, now victims of wind and weather, cut loose. They scatter and blow. Melting snow carries them to street drains where they enter our water supply. Plastic and petroleum based décor and chemicals end up in our food and water supply. They disrupt our hormones. They mess with nature.

Birds will not survive ingesting a Styrofoam bits that look like bread or a berry.  Fish, rivers and oceans do not survive holiday glitter, a dangerous microplastic.

I am not sure when the holidays became trips to the dollar store to buy artificial decorations made in China, harmful in our own neighborhoods.

Next year, let’s decorate with fallen evergreen branches, blue spruce and cedar; let’s string and hang cranberries. Let’s learn about the traditional “hanging of the greens” and get creative with pinecones and what Nature gives us.

If we respect and savor every season, the outdoors can be freeing. It has been ever so more precious during this pandemic.

Barbara Bach,