Apparently research indicates that spending time in nature makes us feel good, but we consistently underestimate just how good we'll feel.
Since I read that, I've been making an effort to push past the "eh, maybe I'll just ride straight home..." feeling that tends to settle on me towards the end of the workday and instead have been stopping by the lake to visit with my squirrel friends. The days are getting shorter (ARGH DO NOT WANT) and today is the first official day of autumn (DO NOT WANT), so I feel like I need to be taking advantage of every remaining still-light-after-I-get-out-of-work day.
I had to laugh at myself yesterday when I rolled up and found that there were two people in a hammock under OUR tree. Furthermore, they were feeding some of OUR squirrels. I hope you appreciate the time we've spent over the past few months socializing these little beasts! I thought. And then, I wonder how many Oaklanders — how many generations of Oaklanders — had been feeding the squirrels before we started? Um. Heh.
So it was nice to get there today and find the tree empty and inviting. Quite empty, actually, as were the other trees nearby and all the ground I could see. Oh, well, maybe they'll show up later. I've got coffee and snacks. And if they wait too long, well, I'll have eaten all the trail mix. Serve them right.
Elapsed time from when I propped my bike against the tree (and hit "start" on my watch's chronometer function) to when Nervy Nose appeared on the branch behind me: 3 minutes 51 seconds.
I wound up spending almost an hour and 45 minutes up there. Partly because just as I thought "well, I'll finish my coffee and head home" Honey Brown showed up. She is such a bold little creature — she's getting very comfortable with rummaging through the trail mix on my palm. And although I haven't even tried to stroke or pet her yet, at one point there were only raisins and cashews on my palm, but two almonds had fallen off my hand and were lying on the bark of the branch next to and slightly under fingers. Little Ms. Honey Brown seemed perfectly comfortable using her cheek and nose to nudge my hand aside so she could get to the almonds.