Fall in Love… with the Outdoors


Fall in Love… with the Outdoors
Bryce Canyon National Park | Photo by Christian Pugsley
by Martha Jevsevar, Director of Outdoor Recreation

Humans have been connected to nature since the beginning of time. Our existence depended on our ability to take what Mother Nature gave us and to make the best possible use of these precious resources. 

Arches National Park | Photo by Strauss Western

Our ancestors were nomadic hunter-gatherers roaming the lands, following the ebb and flow of the seasons to create a sustainable life. Their survival directly depended on their ability to co-exist with the natural world – to manage a love affair with the great outdoors. With advancements in technology and agriculture, humans began to find more efficient ways of sustaining themselves.  These advancements allowed for more permanent settlements, which led to rapid population growth and a distancing from nature. 

With the onset of the industrial revolution, we have become ever more proficient in managing everyday life without being so obviously dependent on nature. Country lanes, neighborhood markets, and quiet farmland have dissolved away to make room for airports and Amazon fulfillment centers. This shift to urbanized life inadvertently led to a distancing from nature. Our love affair with nature became an amenity rather than an obvious necessity.

Zion National Park | Photo by Kristina Wagner

The growth of cities allowed for a separation between people and nature. Many became obsessed with convenience and efficiency, which often left the natural environment as a lesser priority. We developed a willing ignorance of our role and relationship within it. These changing values forced many to re-examine their priorities. 

Our eyes were once again opened to the simple glory of our surroundings with songs like Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” first recorded in 1967.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

As the lyrics to this iconic song suggest, the first step in re-creating the bond between ourselves and nature is to simply notice our natural surroundings. It’s far too easy to be focused on the taillights in front of us during our commute, the exhaust from a city bus, or the latest episode of our favorite podcast while making our way to the office. Simply noticing the sky, the cloud formations, and the array of colors provided by a sunrise or sunset can be a very powerful experience.

Horseshoe Bend | Photo by Drif Riadh

We can start by developing one simple habit – one that might open up new perspectives. When you step outside your door each morning, pause for 10 seconds and ask yourself, “What does the air feel like? How many different kinds of birds can I hear? What are the clouds doing?” And notice our truly wonderful world!

An even better way to rediscover your connection to the outdoors is to participate in activities like hiking, cycling, and kayaking. For some of us, these opportunities are right out our back door. But city dwellers can also connect with nature. Take note of birds drinking from a water fountain, squirrels gathering food in a park, colorful fall leaves dancing in the breeze, or the softness of a freshly fallen snow.  I challenge you to actively engage with your surroundings and enjoy the natural world each day. 

This February, allow yourself to fall in love with nature. No trust fund is required; it’s affordable and fun. Whether it’s an adventure with your kids, a fun first date, or a quiet reflective mediation – Mother Nature always provides the perfect venue. Simply notice, engage, and wonder.

About Martha Jevsevar

Martha Jevsevar joined the Red Mountain team in August 2014 as an adventure guide before assuming the role of Director of Outdoor Recreation. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, her passion for travel and the outdoors developed during backpacking trips through the Tetons and Allegheny Mountains, and she quickly fell in love with southern Utah’s dramatic landscapes. Her professional experience includes business management, accounting, and serving on community advisory boards.