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Hurricanes and Hammocks

by | Sep 24, 2019 | 2019, Blog, Newspaper Column

There are times we need to give ourselves an extended break to relax and refresh. But it is also important to take mini-breaks on a regular basis.

Dave and I just returned from a camping trip in Newfoundland. And yes, we did experience a little extra wind and rain from Hurricane Dorian, but nothing problematic.

A vacation, a true vacation, for me at least, involves vacating. Getting away. And being outdoors as much as possible.

This trip involved some kayaking, biking, ferry rides, and bird watching (loved seeing puffins!) We went to an Irish concert in a sleepy coastal town, saw a number of lighthouses, and watched the seals.

Perhaps as important was the hammock time. A factor for the ideal campsite is the presence of trees in which to hang the hammocks. There are few things as relaxing as swinging gently in a hammock with a beautiful view. You can hear the birds talking to each other, you can hear the wind, you can hear the stillness. When was the last time you allowed yourself the time and space to listen to stillness?

There are times we need to give ourselves an extended break to relax and refresh. But it is also important to take mini-breaks on a regular basis. I am resolved after this vacation, to get outside during the work day and take a short walk. No big deal, no special shoes required, just walk outdoors and take a deep breath. I am the better for it.

My father had an expression, “let’s go blow the stink off”. This was how the Sunday afternoon drive was frequently described. By this he meant, he needed to go let the worries, concerns and to-do lists leave his brain and take a drive through some pretty countryside. It helped him relax and gain fresh perspective. I was enthusiastic as it usually involved ice cream.

So, back to the idea of being outdoors: this is important for all in the family. As we start the new school year, children are now in the school building for extended periods of time. Most adults spend a good portion of our work day indoors. It is easy to come home and put on the fuzzy slippers.  All of us, children and adults, benefit from getting outdoors. Rake the lawn, toss the ball, walk the dog, run around in circles. Even swing in that hammock for a bit.

This fall, The River Center is excited to host Angela Hanscom, author of Balanced and Barefoot. Angela is a pediatric occupational therapist who will give us strategies to help children thrive through outdoor play. I am guessing adults will be inspired as well. She will be speaking at 6:30 Tuesday, October 15, in the Lucy Hurlin Theatre at Conval High School. I encourage parents, caregivers, educational professionals, anyone who is interested to join us for this evening. We are grateful to Vose Farm Business Center, Monadnock Paper Mills, and RiverMead for sponsoring this evening so we can offer it to you at no cost.

There are lots of programs to support and encourage parents and caregivers at The River Center this fall. Check out our programs at or give us a call at 924-6800.

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