I held my breath.

I could feel my heart beating hard in my chest.

But I wanted to listen to the world around me. The wind, the birds, the distant cars on the highway. I wanted to hear my world.

I held my breath.

There were the woodpeckers and chickadees, squirrels rustling of leaves in the draw and the beating of my heart.

The natural world is what makes me feel alive. On Sunday, that’s where I was.

Alone on the trails in Newton Hills State Park near Canton.

December is a wonderful time to explore our state parks. The people are gone and you can be completely alone with nature. Take the time to listen and the spirits will speak to you. On Sunday it was just me and my bike finding new trails, stopping occasionally to take in what was an amazing morning given that it’s mid-December.

The moments made me remember the value of public land, public places where we can commune and have the conversations with the natural world that keep us focused on the things that really matter.

Get out there people. Don’t relegate yourselves to the Sunday sofa. Football will be there when you get back. It was for me. (The Steelers got jobbed.)

Remember that life has a lot to offer. Every day. All year.

It’s outside.

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