i came to the skagit valley wound up like an old tin toy: tense, afraid, damn near ready to explode, either that or fall apart at any moment. i was afraid to answer the phone, afraid of my own deadlines, afraid of money and failure and bills and people. i didn't sleep well. i cried a lot, subject to unpredictable mood swings. maybe it was the city life that did this to me. maybe it was the high-pressure and impersonality of the corporate art world that i wasn't equipped to handle. maybe it was the unpredictability of my own circumstances, the loss of loved ones , physically or emotionally, to drugs and disease and accidents. but for whatever reason, i came here to this valley like an injured wild animal, afraid, in need of rehabilitation, snapping at everything and everyone that reached out to me.
i'm better now. i can tell the land healed me. the slower pace of life quieted my heart rate. the community enveloped me. and i'm almost completely better now. i nearly found it, like the imaginary open field with the old oak tree that mom used to paint over and again, that proverbial "happy place" that is the magnitude and quietude of nature. feeling good is addicting. now i realize: i've created a dependency. there are the things about living here, next to nature, that i don't think i can live without anymore. when i get to "civilization", i can feel my patience running thin like a the dwindling sand in an hourglass, my nerves screaming get me the fuck outta here. because i need nature now, my umbilical cord. because there's nothing like a good long walk in the sun speckled woods, up a mountain with the spring flowers blooming, heart pounding with the trees, nothing like it to reset your internal biorhythm. nothing like laying around by a fertile river, in an estuary that stretches far as you can see, laying splayed out invisible inside the tall grass, in the company of a million buzzing creatures, the life that sustains, eyes closed while the wind brushes your skin , listening the the grass rustle and the water dance and the trout splash under the shady trees, nothing like it to wash away all your worries, cares and hangups, wash away all the nasty thoughts and distractions and unpleasantries of daily life, wash it all away and out to sea, that black sea full churning with mysterious life that goes on for infinity. no, there's nothing like it at all. no prescription, no pill, nothing a doctor will give you can fix your anxieties like the great outdoors.
my advice to you: if you feel like crap, if you're down in the dumps, if you need to press reset: spend some time outside. get to know nature. learn to love it. it will love you back.