Nature’s Great Escape

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About the episode

“I’m not depressed, but I’m not exactly happy. I’m meh.”

The Norris Reservation, a Trustees property.

The Great Escape

This episode was absolutely selfish. I’ve been in a really funky space lately. I’m not depressed, but I’m not exactly happy. I’m meh. I feel like I’m in this weird in-between. It doesn’t feel like the height of Covid, but it still feels lousy. I’m vaccinated, but my 9-year-old isn’t. We’re wearing masks again. I worry about the kids having to quarantine or getting Covid. Damn you, Delta (and whatever else is coming!). I was looking forward to a fall and winter of unfettered indoor dining, the movies, museums. I didn’t want to worry if I’d get Covid and pass it on to my kids or vulnerable friends or anyone else. I didn’t want to worry school could go remote again. I didn’t want to reconsider traveling to see my mom at Christmas. But I do.

“Oreo cows” at Weir River Farm in Hingham.

Hitting my 50s, Covid, losing my job–has helped me narrow my focus in so many ways. I want a job I love. I want friends I can depend on, who build me up, not tear me down. I want time with my husband and family and I want to spend more time outside. I’ve always known nature was a healer for me. Some of my best and most peaceful memories are hikes with my mom in the White Mountains or our trip to Alaska or an ill-advised/prepared “trek” on part of the Appalachian Trail. That meal of Wheat Thins and summer sausage, cross-legged on a crest was one of the best I’ve eaten.

The “Milk Crate Challenge” at New England Base Camp in Milton.

New England Base Camp

So this episode celebrates people who have focused their lives to be outdoors and explores the spots they reccommend to unplug, walk, climb, breathe and be.

Kira LaFosse-Baker of New England Base Camp in Milton.

We talk with Kira LaFosse-Baker, an educator at the New England Base Camp. It is a cool, rustic (seriously, rustic) boy scout camp that’s open to the public on weekends. They’ll teach you how to chop wood, build a fire, make rope, boulder (in the verb sense), ice climb and repel down a wooden structure two stories high. I lost all journalistic integrity as I gushed about every turn in the terrain.

Jeffrey Hamilton is a steward for the Trustees.

Trustees of Reservation

You’ll also meet Jeffrey Hamilton. A lovely man who is a steward for the Trustees of Reservation. He intentionally changed the course of his life to take care of the land–and his soul. He mows lawns, builds fences, directs traffic, herds cows–whatever he has to do to be outside and present. He shares his favorite perches on Trustee properties and is just a delight to talk to.

Amy and Jim Kirkcaldy of South Shore Family Adventures.

South Shore Family Adventures

Amy Kirkcaldy started South Shore Family Adventures with her brother Jim in the pandemic. Both teachers, the pair has a lot of time on their hands in summer and four kids that need running. They map out hikes and adventures to share with readers of their blog and Youtube fans. Amy helps navigate trails and parks I’d never heard of, but can’t wait to check out.

Finally, we talk with Peg Baim. She’s the director of the SMART program at the Benson Henry Institute at Mass General Hospital. SMART is stress management and resiliency training. Her work focuses on the connection between stress and health issues. She shares the science behind mind- body and why major medical centers make sure to put greenery (even fake plants) everywhere the can. She also explains the function of killer cells and how nature can help produce more of them to attack viruses and infection. It’s really interesting. 

I hope you get as much out of today’s episode as I did. I still have the afterglow of my time in the great outdoors.

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