Savoring the Great Outdoors

On a recent hike with my grandkids, our trail took us through the woods to a beach on Lake Michigan.

Our Friday Fox asked, “Do you have favorite spots in nature, such as a view, the woods, a sea or lake shore?”

First, let me begin by stating that if it weren’t for the fact that fresh air is good for me, I would probably rarely venture outside. I have a tendency to attract flying insects, I don’t enjoy swimming, I get headaches when in the sunshine and unless one of my kids or grandkids is participating, I don’t enjoy watching sports (other than Tiger Baseball). 

That said, as long as I’m indoors, I’m really not fussy about the scenery outside the window. Windows are there to let light in. I would probably not be too happy in a busy urban area, though. Big cities are for visiting, not for spending extended amounts of time. I’ve always lived in suburbia, so I’m used to seeing other houses, but there’s always grass and trees between them. 

I like being by water – I guess that’s a good thing, because in Michigan, we’re told, we’re never more than six miles from a body of water. However, I don’t particularly enjoy being in the water. I can swim, but I really don’t miss the in-ground pool that we had at our house. A day at the beach has never been my idea of fun.

I like being in the woods, as long as there are no mosquitoes. Maybe it’s all the extra oxygen coming from the plant life, but I feel a sense of peace when surrounded by trees. My grandkids and I have been enjoying weekly hikes this summer, exploring several different wooded trails. But camping in the woods overnight, without my comfortable bed and running water? No, thank you.

We don’t have mountains and deserts in Michigan, so I won’t go into those. They’re both appealing to look at, and I suppose if I were to move to an area with one or the other, I could deal with it. I don’t anticipate that happening, though.

In another month I’ll be attending a writing retreat in the woods near Lake Michigan. Six other authors and I will be working on our projects in a large house where we’ll each have a six foot table, a comfortable office chair, great internet service, and good lighting. Perfect conditions for getting work done – BUT if we want to take a break, we can walk two blocks to the lake, or wander on the paths through the woods. The garage is stocked with all sorts of sports equipment, bicycles, and two covered surreys. This picture is from our retreat in 2019 – you’ll notice that I’m sitting in the back, which meant that I didn’t have to pedal and I didn’t have to steer. 

I suppose if I had to select one favorite outdoor spot, it would be the area around this vacation house…or any place similar. I guess the woods and the water are what I enjoy. The eastern shore of Lake Michigan has lots of wooded areas open to the public, so I could go to a different place every day of the year and not visit them all! Fortunately, many spots like this are near me – there’s a nature center less than a mile away from where I live, with a stream running through it – so I can hike there any time I want!


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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14 Responses to Savoring the Great Outdoors

  1. We’re rather of like minds more than you realize! Not only do camping and too much
    sunshine make me physically ill, I just took a bag of trash to the trashcans at the curb
    before the truck arrives, so I stopped to pull a few weeds from the driveway and came in with
    mosquito bites all over my hands and feet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Oh dear! I haven’t had too much trouble with mosquitoes yet this year, but I’ve been diligent about spraying myself when I hike with the grandkids. Not having to pull weeds is a definite plus for living in a condo!


  2. Diane Burton says:

    I could’ve written most of your post. I like being near water but in it. I don’t swim well. The beach with the hot sun pouring down has no appeal. Hubs used to say my idea of roughing it was a hotel without room service. But, when I was a Girl Scout leader I learned to get along in the outdoors. I camped with my troop (platform tents and outhouses). I’d rather not do that anymore. I know what you mean about trees. One of our fav places is Hartwick Pines near Grayling, MI. So peaceful. Original growth pines hundreds of feet high. Keep the bugs away, though. If I had to choose, I guess Lake Michigan, under the trees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Lake Michigan under the trees can’t be beat, in my opinion, but then, I’ve never been to Grayling. Lucky you to live so close – although Hudsonville isn’t all that far from the shore! Love your husband’s definition of roughing it! Thanks for stopping in!


  3. Jeff Salter says:

    You’ve done it again. I could change a few locations and dates… and this could be my blog for Hound Day.
    Now I’ll have to give extra thought to come up with something that doesn’t so closely resemble your views!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love sitting on the shore of Lake Michigan. If the water is warm enough, I swim in the lake, too. The “Blue Effect” is real. I often come up with poetry or story ideas and plot solutions while I watch the waves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I’d never heard of the “Blue Effect” but I’m finding articles about the calming effect of water and it makes sense! Maybe that’s why we get so much done when we’re at these retreats where we can hear the waves on the lake. Thanks so much for stopping in, Elizabeth!


  5. I have really enjoyed seeing the photos of you and your hiking companions this summer. It looks like you’ve all been having some fun connecting to nature.
    The insects do bother me. I’m horribly allergic to mosquitoes, the bites swell horribly, I develop a fever, headache, and chills that can last for several days depending on how many bites I get at once.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I get swelling, but no fever, headache, or chills. That would be awful. Do you have an epi pen or medication?


      • I don’t, the doctor said some people just react to it that way. It’s not anything that is life threatening it just needs to run it’s course and treat the symptoms. I’ve always reacted that way since I was a little kid.


  6. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I like the sound of your favorite place. Bugs like me too.

    Liked by 1 person

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