Sometime last year, I came across a blog with the delightful title Opening the door, walking outside. Its tagline declared that it was “A 365 day blogging promise to spend time each day in the great outdoors”. This immediately captured my attention, because it was something I wanted to do myself – and was doing already, albeit to far more a limited extent.
The commitment of this particular blogger, however, was to do so every single day for an entire year: to spend at least thirty minutes outside, regardless of the weather, taking pictures of whatever was happening at the time, and then writing about her experiences.
As anyone who has ever made – and then broken – a New Year’s Resolution will know, this was a courageous commitment. As the days and months went by, she built up a loyal following of readers across the world, who shared her excitement at discovering something new every day. And all of us were cheering her on, and willing her to fulfil her 365 days blogging promise. And she did!
In her first post, Kathy (or Centria) explained the intention behind writing this blog:
“It’s too easy to leave the door shut, to stay inside during cold winter days here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s too easy to stoke the woodstove with dried maple and linger near the window reading books, checking email, putzing on various projects, writing blogs on Gaia.com, doing work, cooking healthy dinners.
At other times in the year it’s easier to walk briskly up the road, wander in the woods or hike along a nearby river. But in November each year something inside me clicks shut and the door stays closed and the energy moves inwards towards warmth and inactivity.
But not this year! …
Starting next Sunday, as the Solstice arrives, I will begin writing a daily blog complete with daily photo about what’s-outside-the-front-door. The blog will insist upon it. It won’t allow bedtime to come without fulfillment.
We shall explore the outdoors here. Although the Mind says, “oh what’s interesting out there anyway?” and “what a silly project” and “no one wants to see pictures of snow and trees” and “It’s going to be way too cold!” we’re out to see if the Mind is wrong. We’re ready to investigate and see if there’s something interesting in these-here woods.”
I often returned to Kathy’s blog to see whether there was indeed ‘something interesting’ in her woods. I was never disappointed.
She constantly reminded us of the beauty and richness of nature – but not just of the big, the spectacular, the fantastic, the large-scale dramas. More and more, her photos focused on the things we do not see unless we slow down, breathe more slowly, and pause.
She challenged us to get down on the ground, to change our perspective – physically, and to focus on the details. She also hiked up mountains and faced her fear of heights by climbing onto the roof to gain – quite literally – a higher perspective.
She reminded us to be grateful for the miracles of life, of the unexpected treasures it casts up for us, if we only stop to look, listen, feel, smell, taste. She organised a scavenger hunt and she philosophised and mused about the meaning of life (this is one of many posts in that vein – also see musings).
Even when she really didn’t want to go outside, she did – and wrote about it most entertainingly!
At the end of those 365 days, Kathy said goodbye to her Opening the door, walking outside blog, and started another one, called Lake Superior Spirit. It is just as beautifully written as her previous one, and I cannot wait to see where it will take her (and us).
Last week, Kathy told us that she had been interviewed by a reporter from the Michigan area where she lives, and that an article about her blogs has even appeared online here. AND her new blog made it onto the WordPress “freshly pressed” homepage!
I hope I have made you curious about Kathy’s blog. It is well worth a visit, and I hope that you too will find it utterly enchanting.