Yesterday morning my husband, Ed, and I made our first summer hike to a favorite waterfall destination—Grotto Falls in Hyalite Canyon just outside of Bozeman. The green forest aroma combined with the freshness of the rushing waters made me feel restored, refreshed, relaxed. Just plain happy!
We used to call this a “hike,” but now we’re in such good shape it felt more like an easy, relaxing stroll. Which brings me to the heart of this piece. In the past few days we’ve had three good friends who are in the hospital. Three friends who are not hiking to gorgeous waterfalls with restorative powers. My dear friend, Carolyn See, is recovering from hip surgery in Santa Monica. I wish I could deliver a dose of the clean, healthy green mountain air directly to her room.
In a recent piece in The New Yorker "How Trees Calm Us Down," Alex Hutchinson writes about a researcher who noticed a curious pattern among patients who were recovering from gallbladder surgery at a hospital in Pennsylvania. Those who had been given rooms overlooking a small stand of trees were being discharged almost a day sooner than those in rooms whose windows faced a wall.
Other studies have shown that even looking at a picture of nature can be restorative, can lift one’s mood, and can raise one’s score on a test. I’m not sure about all of that, but I am sure that this image of “our” waterfall makes me happy, and maybe you’ll appreciate and enjoy it, too.