Taking It Outside

Spring has sprung in New England! Or at least some version of spring where we start to see flower buds and sunshine at regular intervals. Here in my little corner (near Boston, MA) we did not see much snow this winter. That is not true for all of my neighbors, but my coastal city doesn’t follow any weather rules, thanks to the ocean just doing what it wants.

Funny meme showing different seasons, including some made up ones. Arrow pointing to indicate we are in "spring of deception" now.

Last weekend my partner and I went to Stowe, VT for a few days. Our first night there it snowed and we were awed by the delights of seeing snow fall in/on the mountains. The following morning our walk to breakfast was cold and windy, but by midday it was 60 degrees (15.5 celsius) and sunny. We did a fair bit of wandering around in the sunshine, capped off with our first outdoor brewery visit of the season. We remained awed by the snow on the ground in the warm sunshine (we may be easily entertained.)

This brief exposure to warmth left me excited for upcoming days on our new back deck. I wasn’t the only one, because we weren’t home more than an hour from our weekend trip and my partner was taking the tarps off our deck furniture. Seems we both have the bug. With the furniture uncovered we’ve both been able to take some of our virtual meetings out there, and our dogs are getting acclimated to lounging on the deck (versus the many other places they lounge.)

Sunset over the ocean next to walking path with a metal railing.
King’s Beach facing Red Rock Park
Lynn, MA

All of this has me thinking about what types of movement activities I can take out on the deck this season. The desire to be outside is a relatively new one for me, so while so many other FIFI contributors have written about their outdoor adventures I have never really enjoyed those types of activities. I was a bookworm kid who hated the feel of grass of my bare feet (still do,) one who sunburned easily (still do,) and one who craved alone time in a cool, dark room (still do.) But now I also have this craving for sunshine, to feel the warmth on my back while enjoying the views and the nature going on around me. I notice which of the plants, flowers, and shrubs have buds, and I am excited for their blooms. And I think about what, besides reading and zoom meetings, I can enjoy on the deck. Here’s my list of things to try this spring:

– yoga

– stretching

– barre classes

– resistance band strength training

– meditation

None of these will surpass my one true outdoor summer activity, open water swimming, but they will be great pre- and post-swimming activities, or just good on their own.

What outdoor activities are you excited to try or get back to this season?

Amy Smith is a professor of Media & Communication and a communication consultant who lives north of Boston. Her research interests include gender communication and community building. Amy spends her movement time riding the basement bicycle to nowhere, walking her two dogs, and waiting for it to get warm enough for outdoor swimming in New England.

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