The morning is cool and moist after that mondo rain that started yesterday evening and kept its pace through the night. Pavement is wet and there’s overland flow debris in drainage areas. There’s more litter on the asphalt, and landscape rock has dribbled out onto the sidewalks. Forgoing my customary trail therapy walk, I settle for a stroll on terra firma through the neighboring subdivision. I’ll give the trail a day or two to dry out. Though I miss the trail, this subdivision walk offers a new perspective. It’s a conscientious subdivision and most yards are xeriscaped. I pass a golden rain tree and other drought-tolerant, water-conserving plants.

Some trees still offer white or pink blossoms, while others are in a funny mix of dead blossoms and incoming fresh green leaves. Whiffs of lilac and other unidentified landscape scents spiral around. Other early morning walkers acknowledge me with a smile or a wave. It’s overcast and looks like there could be another big storm brewing up there. Monument cliffs hang innocently in the background.

Today is Tuesday, a long day, as I have a class in the morning and another at night with work in between. I make sure I get my walk in as I know it will help me through the day. I’ve noticed since making a walk part of my daily self-care routine, I’ll be sorry if I don’t get to it. Of course, any sort of exercise is better than none, but exercise out of doors is sort of like buy one, get one free (BOGO): you get the benefits of exercise AND the therapeutic effects of nature.

What are the therapeutic effects? Nature reduces high blood pressure and stress hormones, and lifts depression and anxiety. In Japan, they call this nature therapy forest bathing. Other countries and cultures are following suit. Here on the west slope, we might have to call it desert bathing! Of course, don’t forget the proper protective equipment while desert bathing: sunscreen, hat, sunglasses. Get out there and get your BOGO!

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