It’s Valentine’s Day. You may be going out to dinner and wine with your significant other. Maybe you’re throwing your exes’ photographs into a bonfire with your friends. Or maybe you’re just watching Friends with your dog. Whatever your plans are today, it’s the days where we’re all feelin’ the feels.
To be honest, I’m not all that into celebrating Valentine’s Day. At least not in the traditional sense with chocolates and flowers. But, I LOVEEE love. Instead, I like to make Valentine’s Day an excuse to be outside. Last year, I bought Angus an archery set as a Valentine’s Day gift. We drove Westward past Loch Lomond towards the Rest and Be Thankful to play Cupid in the forest. Angus and I frolicked through the shrubbery to find the perfect spot to cast our arrows. Then, we competed against each other to see who could get a better shot. We’re total newbies in the archery world. I had no idea what I was doing and he had no idea what he was doing.
But we were outside, and we had fun. And that’s all that mattered
Today, REI posted an Instagram post encouraging its followers #OptOutside and to write a love letter to the great outdoors. We’re constantly stepping on her grounds, sleeping under her stars and picking at the fruits of her labor. When do we actually stop to appreciate her for all her value? During this tumultuous time of politics, climate change and public land policies, Mother Nature needs some extra love and care.
This morning, I thought of some of the things I’ve done outside. And there are just too many to write down. To the great outdoors, thank you for giving me stories. I’ll never forget the day in science camp in the 5th grade where I did my first-ever hike, where two miles felt like a million. Since then, I’ve become addicted to creating memories with you.
Thank you for forcing me to endure the elements. A week backpacking in pouring rain taught me to embrace bad weather. And boy, does it build character. My perspective on the never-ending rain in Scotland has changed drastically. As long as I’m prepared with a waterproof jacket, I’m good to go outside even in a downpour. Wind? Snow? Ice? Not a problem.
You have brought me closer to the people I love today. I’ve met some of my closest friends as well as Angus through you. You’re the ultimate wing woman. You’ve given us the opportunity to bond through difficult hikes that test our abilities. We’ve sang songs in front of crackling fire underneath the stars and recounted stories of our childhood.
We share a common thread that brings us together: our love for the outdoors
At the moment, you’re fighting to stay alive. The climate is changing drastically, and our current political situation only makes it worse. But I promise you, we’re trying real hard to fight this battle for you. We’re calling our senators and protesting. We’re buying more sustainable products and educating others how to be more sustainable too. And hopefully, oh so hopefully, someday we can pay you back for all you’ve given us.