Eco-Therapy & Books

There has been a lot of reading and outdoors time going on, often at the same time. The nights are mild; the mosquitoes have returned. I’m not deterred, though. I still like to take a glass of wine out to the back stoop and catch up on some reading.

I’m unable to say what has gotten into me lately. In summers past, I was quite happy to spend an hour outside and say I’d done myself some good with that single hour. Not this year. I don’t mind getting dirty from pulling garden weeds, and I don’t mind getting sweaty from a long walk around the block or even around the zoo. In fact, the kiddo and I spent nearly four hours doing just that this weekend.

All three of us played for hours on an outdoor ropes course downtown with the hopes of ziplining across the Oklahoma River. The skyzip didn’t happen due to wind gusts but I’m pretty sure I would have chickened out anyway. It seems I have a newly developed physiological reaction to heights that I must work on before I step out onto the Willis Tower Skydeck next month (I only made it to the third story of the ropes course – out of eight – before feeling a little queasy).

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We recently attended an outdoor wedding reception at our friends’ new homestead/farm-to-be where there was canoe filled with ice-cold beer and soda, a metal washbin for a firepit (to cook our hot dogs and s’mores, of course), as well as a petting zoo. All the guests parked a few hundred yards from the event which meant we had to find our way back to our cars in the dark. Being that far out in the country gave us all a fantastic view of the stars and a nearly full moon, though, not to mention the spectacular firefly show.

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I have felt so happy lately and I truly believe it’s from being outside so much. It helps to be so blitzed out by the sun and heat of the day that I usually fall into bed blissfully exhausted.

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Between walks around the nearby lakes and city parks (and cutting flowers during my many trips to my garden), I read. Most recently I’ve finished Susannah Kaysen’s Cambridge, Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird, and Maggie Shipstead’s Seating Arrangements. My most favorite was Shipstead’s novel; my least favorite was Oyeyemi’s. Cambridge fell disappointingly in the middle.

I’m reading two books at the moment: Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez and Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories by Lauren Groff. It’s funny how the two of them are so drastically different yet each one serves up a good fix for my Floridana literature itch. Groff lives in Gainesville, Florida, my one-time hometown, the city in which my daughter was born. I miss that place. The tall trees, the afternoon thunderstorms, the summer jasmine scent in the air. Lopez’s book on the Arctic explains in detail why dwarf trees are so prevalent in regions with violent weather and temperature extremes. Wind is one of the greatest weather forces. There is so much wind here in Oklahoma that I now understand why there are so few tall trees. And the way Lopez talks about the Far North, or the way most Alaskans talk about the Far North, for that matter, is what makes me miss the South.

That is how I feel about the South, except I haven’t yet found Arctic Dreams‘ southern equivalent.

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9 thoughts on “Eco-Therapy & Books

  1. Be careful with those mosquitos. They are downplaying it, but chikungunya — a painful, mosquito-borne viral causing painful joints, pounding headaches and spiking fevers — is moving across the nation. 135,000 reported cases in the Caribbean. Lovely photos in this post but my favorite was the dog sitting with you while you read on the stoop. Is that a red poppy in your garden?

    • Thank you! I work part time in the mornings now so I get to enjoy the afternoons. I think we’ve gotten more rain than usual so far this summer, too.

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