How Will You Do Your 1,000 Hours Outside?

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Susan Dromey Heeter photo

Susan Dromey Heeter's shadow outside. Take a photo of you and your shadow for the 1,000 Hours and send it to nancywestnews@gmail.com

By SUSAN DROMEY HEETER, InDepthNH.org

Today I muse joyfully on competitions, on the grace to succeed, to win, to enjoy the adrenaline of a good match.

Currently, I am working on 1,000 Hours Outside, hoping by the end of 2021, that I have filled my tracker with colors and recalled the walks, the swims, the bikes, the skates, the gazes, the discoveries.  I am working on celebrating the joys of being under the sky, under the sun, under the moon, under the clouds in a world where currently way too much time is inside, on a screen or a couch, away from the glories of nature.

And my competitors? Are you one?  Have you got your tracker? Your markers, your crayons? Have you got your mittens, your skates, your sleds? Do visit https://www.1000hoursoutside.com and join in.  Currently my next door neighbors are giving me a run for my money: Kennedy is two, LJ is four and they are outside with their bikes, their snowpeople, their toys. They shovel, they play.  When I am aware they are reaching that 1,000 mark faster than me, well, I grab my orthotic shoes and walk our new puppy or throw on ice skates and get on the pond so I can fill in my tracker and win, win, win!

But, I laugh. It’s all winning when we get outside, when we take our “fresh air baths” when we get away from Facebook and Twitter and politics and Netflix. It’s all winning when we move, when we witness the clouds, the skies, feel the rain and snow, experience a walk on a beach during February.  We remember those times as we FEEEEEEEL them. 

When people say, “Oh, but it’s so cold!”  I respond, “Um, there are these inventions called ‘coats’ ‘mittens’ ‘hats’” and, well, let’s face it, we live in New England, if you don’t have a warm coat by now, where have you been? Cuba?

When it’s especially rainy outside, cold and wet, I think of Ray Hinton, an American activist who was wrongly convicted of two murders and who spent 28 years on death row in Alabama.  I heard him speak a few years ago; he left me with so much to think on, to learn. He amazed me with his story, his wisdom.  But I think of him when it rains.  Mr. Hinton never uses  an umbrella, welcomes the feel of raindrops on his head, welcomes the feel of ALL of the outdoors.  After having been incarcerated for almost three decades, he takes nothing for granted.

So, I’ll get outside, fill in my tracker – GAMEON, Joyful Musers. And Kennedy and LJ? Glad you’re playing along with me. I think we’ll all win with our 1,000 Hours Outside.

Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.

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