Hey! So I just revamped this blog that used to be about my thoughts I had while running. I decided to turn this into something less specific with a focus on sharing my own journey to caring for myself in the hopes that people can relate to it.
I got this idea, partly because I wasn’t keeping up with the blog because I can’t run right now due to an injury, and partly because I am a new graduate student studying humane education…and self care is what I found myself surprisingly needing to focus on first to do well and be a productive student. I am also always thinking about how I can teach others about self care, but I realized I need to take my own advice.
In one of my classes, environmental ethics, one of the assignments is perfect for self care. It’s to find a place in nature and to be mindful of the surroundings and to pay attention to it all. I am unsure if taking pictures can be part of this, but I feel like without pictures I am unable to remember what it was like as well. You will see these shortly.
This first trip was taken at the Claire D. McIntosh wildlife refuge and Jacobs Salt Marsh, in Bristol, Rhode Island and Warren, Rhode Island respectively. They are a short walk on a path a way from each other, and right near the border of the two towns.
I started at the wildlife refuge.
I went down the path, over a pond (there’s a wooden structure that passes over it) that was still partially frozen but also had bulbs opening up.
I stopped on the path and looked around and listened. I realized I was hearing some ducks. So, I went around the corner to see a large group of Mallard ducks.
Then I started walking to the bike path, heading over to the salt marsh area. I took note of this sign.
Then I slowly walked down the path I had taken in the past through the salt marsh and over to the rocky, sandy coastal beach area.
I was met by a bunch of different birds. There were various gulls, ducks, and a single swan.
The swan was hard to capture without it’s head in the water.
I walked across the shoreline, trying to observe what I was seeing. I became mindful of the material we are learning about plastic litter and trash in the oceans, and started to look for evidence of it here. I took photos of it. I wanted to take it with me and throw it out elsewhere, but there was a little too much and I didn’t have anything to put it in. I also don’t know what the rules are if any about cleaning up the area.
I sat on a rock for a bit right by the shore and watched the tide come in and out in front of me. It was quite relaxing and I tried to breathe in sync with it.
I slowly tried to make my way back to the path that brought me to this secluded area (it was just me and the birds) but I kept walking past the entrance to the path. I started to panic a bit because I was getting a little tired of going back and forth and still couldn’t find it! I guess I hadn’t been aware of my surroundings as much as I could have. I eventually found it and walked back to the bike path where I followed it to make one last destination.
Across from the wildlife refuge entrance, there is a boardwalk that goes into the middle of the marsh grass that grows all around it. I was admiring the grass, but then I realized I don’t even know the name of the species it is! If anyone knows, please comment. I tried googling it but had some difficulty identifying it. Here is a picture of what I mean:
I walked to the end of the boardwalk, that shows off a view of the ocean. It’s supposed to be impressive, but it didn’t compare to views I had when I was directly on the shore. I didn’t bother to take a picture there…I thought the houses and boats you could see in the water would tarnish the beauty of it.
On the walk back towards my car, someone past me and said “it doesn’t feel like it’s 50 degrees yet!” I laughed and said no, except to myself I was thinking I was so happy it was warmer out and that it had to be at least 50 degrees. I checked the temperature, and it was 52. The cool ocean breeze must’ve confused the other person.
When I got back to my car, I felt really warm. I had been walking a lot. In fact, when I checked my Fitbit I had stepped 8,000 steps. Considering I’m lucky if I get 10,000 steps by the end of the day, and this was before 1pm, it was a lot! But it felt so good. The salty air was so refreshing and I didn’t notice how stifling and stuffy being indoors felt for a little bit.
The assignment was to spend at least a half hour in nature. I told myself in the beginning that I would keep the first one short and to the point, but I got a bit carried away and spent over an hour there.
I had also never been here by myself. I had always gone with someone else. It was nice to be by myself and go at my own pace and only have myself as my company and internal conversation partner.
I think I’ll go back again soon, especially with spring on it’s way!