I’m a tree hugger. I hug trees. Not surprisingly, I grew up wandering in the woods – pretty sure that’s why tree-hugging is my jam. My family lived in a pretty little log cabin in the boonies, and I loved our home – we had land, and were in a safe town, so I wandered a lot! My best friend lived up the road and we would walk with our dogs to meet each other halfway, then head into the forest for a game of lost sisters stumble upon a vegetable garden (we only pillaged our own families’ tomatoes, beans, peas and carrots crops). The woods have always felt like a home to me; trees sheltered us from the hot sun in the summer, and in the winter, I admired how they twinkled with snow. When we watched Swiss Family Robinson, my Dad would pine (no pun intended) after the tree house they built high above the forest floor, and I decided right then that I also would like to live in a tree house some day.
A few years ago, my girlfriend T introduced me to the concept of “walking the perim(eter)”. This is the same friend who inspired my blog post How to Do Anything You Want, and Why You Should (she’s now the wonderful mother of a five month old!) and continues to inspire me to create my own happiness. I think she even asked me excitedly “do you walk the perim at your house too?” and at the time, I did – but had never formally labeled or been so intentional with walking around my yard. Walking the perim is so simple it’s a little silly to wax poetic about it- it involves walking around your land/yard/garden/balcony or community garden/park if you’re a city person – but what it represents is powerful.
So excited to wander in the wilderness this week. Happy Monday! Then we’re off for some excellent wildventures 🙂https://t.co/PgIrkQCHKF
— Eliza S (@happycreativeHC) August 8, 2016
A fantastic article I tweeted (above) from the New York Times highlighted a study about people who wandered in the woods for a bit. Not surprisingly, “volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health.” I know I could use a mental health break/tune-up frequently these days – after a (fun but) long day at work, a (again, fun but) busy weekend, or just to recenter myself in a fast-paced, politically-charged, non-stop flow of information kinda world.
As often as I can, I’ll go for a stroll in the forest – but a combination of circumstances have limited my much-loved wanders in the real woods. So In the meantime, I walk the perim.
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First thing in the morning and last thing at night, and often, as soon as I get home from work, I take a minimum of 5 minutes (but sometimes much longer, depending on the levels of my patience and my cup of coffee or tea!) and walk around our land. Charlie-pup loves it, of course, and usually decides somewhere along the way that he would like to sit down and supervise the squirrels. For like hours. We put up a puppy-run in the backyard for him to relax semi-free range, so when he announces his intentions by lounging on the grass and rolling over, belly to the sky, I’ll hook him up to that run and keep walking around myself.
I greet the gardens (talking to plants improves their growth, and it’s fun!) and inspect for new wildflower growth along the borders of our meadow. Charlie even discovered wild blackberries growing back there last week! I plan to transplant some of them to a huge pot and cultivate them for future deliciousness 🙂
So walking the perim is not only fun; it’s productive from a mental-health perspective, gets me off my butt and moving, even if it’s just walking (10,000 steps is the magic number!), it entertains my dog, and helps me discover and love my own backyard. I highly recommend you get out there. Oh, and just you – no phones allowed 😉
A Happy Wife