This past week the temperature retreated from the 90s to a more reasonable 70s and low 80s.   As the temperature came down, I’ve been getting outside more.  

I’ve been jogging around the lake, kayaking, swimming and eating outside more. In the process I’ve rediscovered something I learned last summer about the restorative nature of being outdoors. Being outdoors more each day has been up-lifting. 

I said rediscovered because I first learned this last summer when I read the book The Nature Fix – Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier and More Creative by Florence Williams.  It’s a rich and rewarding  book that lays out research study after research study on how the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors transform how we feel. 

I remembered The Nature Fix because of the depth of research it presents on the benefit of being outside.  As I started to reread the book I was reminded that the book was in the words of creativity researcher Ned Herrmann a “whole brain” book.  She explains in the first chapter: 

“This book explores the science behind what poets and philosophers have known for eons: place matters. Aristotle believed walks in the open air clarified the mind. Darwin, Tesla and Einstein walked in gardens and groves to help them think. Teddy Roosevelt, one of the most hyper-productive presidents of all time, would escape for months to the open country. On some level they all fought a tendency to be “tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people” as hiker-philosopher John Muir put it in 1901.”

For me, to experience the wonders of nature, I need to become conscious of the sensory aspects of nature.   

When kayaking, the sound of the water rippling, the sounds of the birds, and the splash of a turtle leaving a log for the water, all come together to relax my soul. When walking our dog Lexi around the lake it’s appreciating the smells and sights that she is instantly alert to. When enjoying a cocktail beside the fire as the sun goes down over the lake, it’s experiencing the calm rhythm of the scene. 

So – if you’re feeling tired and nerve-shaken, get up, get out and enjoy the outdoors. 

With a post on being outdoors it’s appropriate that I publish a cocktail that celebrates the outdoors. And for this I am turning to an amazing new cocktail book, Camp Cocktails – Easy, Fun and Delicious Drinks for the Great Outdoors by Emily Vikre.  She has a PhD from Tufts and lives in Minnesota. She and her husband are co-owners of the Vikre Distillery. 

SCAFFA – This is an old cocktail that tastes great on ice or if you’re outdoors. It’s perfect for a flask because it tastes great warm. (Camp Cocktails by Emily Vikre, page 42)

Combine the following ingredients together:

  • 1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 3/4 oz Deckhand Rye Whiskey 
  • 1/4 oz (or 1 1/2 teaspoons) Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz (or 1 1/2 teaspoons) Amaro Montenegro