As I have previously written on this blog, mud is a wonderful thing. It heralds the arrival of spring and warmer temperatures. It means that water is flowing into the ground, nourishing the plentiful plant and insect life beneath our feet. I love seeing mud for all of these reasons, but I also love the playful freedom that mud offers to us stern, repressed adults.
In a word? Mud is fun.
I recently went for a great hike along the banks of the Grand River*. It was fun because I got to scramble up and down muddy hillsides, hop over rocks, and track ingenious pathways along the sodden river banks. My behind was thoroughly soaked from a rather too-hasty jump, in which I misjudged the steepness of a slope and had to grapple with sticks to get myself upright again. I also spotted a mysterious and rather creepy abandoned building on my wanderings. (For photo evidence, see all of my pictures below).
No other investment of my time could have brought about such a lighthearted feeling of adventure and exploration. I was a mere 15-minute drive from my apartment, and I felt that nature suffused my entire being. It helped that I wasn’t being too fastidious; it felt good to disregard concerns about hygiene and enjoy the mud caking thickly onto my boots and hands. I felt like a child again – young and carefree.
Throughout the month of May, the David Suzuki Foundation attempts to elicit a similar sense of joy, freedom, and youth in Canadians of all ages with its 30×30 Challenge. It asks Canadians “to pledge to spend 30 minutes in nature every day for 30 days” by “getting outside and taking time to notice and connect with the non-human life” around them (30×30 FAQs, 2014).
Not everyone will find their ‘nature experience’ in a vigorous hike along the river banks – your personal connection with nature might be as simple as sitting outside in your backyard (see a full list of Daily Tips for nature interaction here). Regardless of what format your outdoor time takes,however, it is bound to make you happier, healthier, and less stressed out.
Whether or not you have formally joined the 30×30 Challenge, I hope you will find yourself outside more often this spring to partake of all the joys that mud has to offer!
*Please note that, if you decide to attempt a similar feat, care must be taken – flooding is occurring all along this mighty Heritage River due to a heavy snow pack and extensive rain fall this past winter and spring (CBC News, April 2014).