11/100: Get Outside to Find Inspiration

Nature offers too many opportunities for creative thought.

Cadillac Mountain Sunrise. Photo Credit: Grace Baldwin

Today has been one of the best days of my entire life.

This morning, I woke up at 2:30 a.m. to tag along with some friends to Acadia National Park, somewhere I’ve never been despite knowing about it my entire life and living in Maine for four years. I even have a cousin who is named after the park because her father thought it was so stunning when they visited. I’ve never managed to make it, but it’s been on my “pre-graduation” bucketlist for a while. Today I had the chance to cross it off.

We drove up to the top of Cadillac Mountain at 5:00 in the morning so we could capture one of the first views of the sunrise in the United States. As we stood out in the bitter cold and watched the sun break over the horizon, I couldn’t help but marvel and this beautiful fucking planet we live on. Acadia has to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to, and it’s kind of hard to believe that I get to inhabit the same general space as this unfathomably gorgeous piece of land.

After a long breakfast in Bar Harbor, we made our way back into the park to Sand Beach, where we explored the picturesque Maine rocky coast. We spent over three hours combing our way through a 1.6-mile loop, climbing up and down cliffs to investigate caves, tide pools, and rock outcroppings.

I spent my entire day outside, crawling over rocks, smelling the salty air, and soaking up the rays of sunshine that seem to have finally come to Maine. I was unplugged for most of the day, and frankly, I came home refreshed and inspired by the world that I exist in.

Now, I’m by no means one of those people who thinks we are too attached to our devices. I’m actually the opposite and love technology. Tech allows me to have a relationship with someone I love who lives halfway across the world. Tech allows me to explore ideas that I have at any moment. Tech makes the world more dynamic, but it’s true that it can become all-consuming if we don’t pay attention to it.

My world is the furthest thing from “natural”. I live in a cultivated environment, carefully structured to fit a certain collegiate aesthetic. But even outside of Colby my world is manipulated by humans in the city I live in, the car I drive, and the food I eat. No matter what I do, I see the impact of humans on the environment that we live in.

Living in a tech-connected, human manipulated world is drowning our ability to see the planet beyond our immediate needs.

We rarely ever take the time to stand and marvel at the unaltered and tech-deficit. It’s time we change that, because the natural world offers so many different ways to challenge our ideas about our place in the universe. Not only does time spent in nature take us away from our phones and pull us into the present, but it also challenges our worldviews.

So spend time in nature every day, even if it’s just for a walk in the woods. Learning about the crazy shit that the earth does by itself not only opens doors for creative thought, it will make you a better person.

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Grace Chandler Baldwin is a freelance writer living in Maine. She loves all things travel, language, and yoga and has an unhealthy obsession with goats. Find her at www.gracechandlerbaldwin.com.