Two Big Questions on My Mind

I have a lot of questions. Many of these are of the existential what-does-it-all-mean variety that I suspect I’ll never have answers to.

But, for the purposes of this blog, I generally have two big questions that I’m trying to learn more about:

1) What are the ways that nature can enhance our health and happiness?

I think we generally have intuitive sense that nature is good for us, that it’s good to get fresh air, to go for a walk, to get a way from it all. As I dig more deeply into this subject, it’s amazing to learn just how good spending time in nature is for people and for entire communities. In many ways, it’s the perfect antidote to our many of our modern problems, including stress, busyness, and disconnection. Time with nature can reduce anxiety, improve creativity, and boost immunity to diseases like cancer. It can lead to longer lifespans and provide inspiration and a sense of belonging.

2) What are some practical ways to spend more time with nature?

With all of those benefits, it seems clear that many of us could benefit from spending more time with nature. But how to we realistically do that when we feel busy and overstretched? Where do we find time in the day to go outside when the rest of the world is increasingly inside? I struggle with this as much as anybody—even living rurally and being a moderately outdoorsy person, I still have plenty of days where I don’t spend any time outside or connected to nature. This is why I’m interested in  finding ways to experience ordinary, everyday nature as I am in planning big, wild adventures.

That’s where my mind is these days, so I hope that you’ll come back and learn more with me!

Two Reasons Why I’m Not Blogging Much These Days

I’ve been a bit absent on the blog the past few months, with my recent three-week gap being especially notable. While I’ve tried writing more regularly in the past, for the time being I’ve decided to post when I feel inspired to. And, honestly, that hasn’t been as frequently lately.

One big reason for that, perhaps the biggest reason why I’m not finding it so exciting to write here these days is that I’m writing a ton for work. I’m currently in the midst of working on four substantial documents: two massive reports that I’m lead author on, a chapter for another report, and a journal manuscript. I got one out the door last week and an hoping that I can do the same for another this week. So while I haven’t been writing here, I have been churning out a lot of words elsewhere.

But that’s not the only reason. The bigger reason is perhaps even more understandable: it’s finally spring. I haven’t written a post since my garden melted out of the snow and allowed me to start getting ready for another year.

The garden when it finally melted out of the snow, April 14, 2016.
The garden when it finally melted out of the snow, April 14, 2016.

I’ve been busy since then, putting all my new gardening knowledge to work.  Continue reading “Two Reasons Why I’m Not Blogging Much These Days”

The Blog, Year 3

I recently realized that I’ve started my third year of blogging.

Happy belated b-day, Bloggy!

Cheers!

I started the blog in October 2013 as a place to record miscellanous ideas and travels. At that time, I only had a vague sense that I wanted to write, and was not very clear on the reasons why. In retrospect, the best answer to why I started blogging would probably be: mindfulness. As the pace of my career and my life picked up, I was realizing how disconnected I was from certain aspects of my day-to-day life. Continue reading “The Blog, Year 3”

Making an Experience, Not a Commodity

I haven’t been writing much here lately. One big reason is because I’ve been writing like a madwoman at work, researching and summarizing every possible tidbit that I can find about how climate change is likely to impact forests in the northeast. It’s fun, but it can also be mentally exhausting and I’ve been short on ambition for evening writing.

But I’ve been plugging along here and there, and thinking a lot about what’s next.

I reached out to another blogger asking for their thoughts on why he’s been plugging away on one of his own sites for nine years, but pulled the plug on another. Both had good content, so what was the difference?

Personality. I gathered that he thought that the long-lasting site was true to his own self. It showed that he was a real person, and allowed him to build a relationship with readers. The loser site was just a resource, an encyclopedia, a list. It didn’t have personality.

Because of this the site was only a commodity and not an experience, people felt no connection to it and as such felt no need to help its success.

This is such a great point, but so hard. How do you let your personality shine though in a website or other writing that isn’t necessarily about you? Sure, it’s easy to have personality come through in a post like this one, but what about in something that’s more explanatory?

Curses! This is where the past 10 years of learning to write like a professional scientist may have led me astray. I work really hard to write good, clean, sentences: here are the facts or implications, unbiased, and clearly stated.

But my other writing is a mess. At Greatist, I could adopt its voice and write with that personality, which wasn’t too far of a stretch for me, and it worked. But as I work to create a new site, I’m still struggling to find the right voice for it, a personality that works for me and will resonate with the audience.

I have some more advice on this for another day (not from me—from another writer who actually knows stuff!). But, in the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is there a website with a personality that really catches your attention?

Should I blog?

Last fall I started a blog. I was really unsure about whether it would be worth my time and very insecure about putting my thoughts out there. But the idea also appealed to me, so in the spirit of personal growth through discomfort, I committed to trying it for a year. Now I’m nearing the other side, having written at least twice per month since last fall, and it’s time to decide whether to keep going.

Forest-Tree-Nut
Eek! People may actually read this.

The Case for Blogging
My initial reasons for blogging were vague and varied. Continue reading “Should I blog?”

Delayed: Making the Best of Tarmac Time

I usually don’t blog from on the road,  but that’s how it’s going to work today. I’m on my way back from a phenomenal forestry meeting in Vermont, trying to work my way home. But due to thunderstorms and various other airline shenanigans, we’ve been stuck on the tarmac for two hours watching it rain. Continue reading “Delayed: Making the Best of Tarmac Time”