A miserable hike that makes you feel a lot better

Fellow hikers, does this sound familiar? I have certainly been there.

Usually I love hiking. Being outdoors, observing the plants and animals, pondering the geology and topography – these things just make me happy.

But occasionally I find myself on a hike that I’m not really enjoying in the moment. Maybe the weather is miserable – too cold and rainy or too damned hot. Or maybe it’s just me, whatever is going on in my body or life that prevents me from appreciating the moment.

Consistently, though, I still feel better afterwards. It turns out this isn’t a fluke. In The Nature Fix (previously mentioned here!), Florence Williams says that the research shows that even when we don’t enjoy ourselves in nature, it is still good for us.

So go ahead, go outdoors and have a miserable time, you’ll feel better later!

Winter Squash Potage

“Potage” is a French word used to describe a soup. While living in France I learned that the term “potage” referred to the type of pureed soup that I’m cooking here. Others call this a “veloute.” Whatever you call it, I find it utterly delicious – showcasing the flavor of whatever vegetable you use – and wonderfully simple to make.

This is my kind of recipe. You don’t have to pay attention to exact quantities Continue reading

Nature for calm and focus

Compared with people who have lousy window views, those who can see trees and grass have been shown to recover faster in hospitals, perform better in school, and even display less violent behavior in neighborhoods where it’s common. Such results jibe with experimental studies of the central nervous system. Measurements of stress hormones, respiration, heart rate, and sweating suggest that short doses of nature—or even pictures of the natural world—can calm people down and sharpen their performance.”

– “Call to the Wild” by , in National Geographic