Remembering to walk in the woods

When Jason and I moved to Maine, we chose to live out in the country, 30-40 minutes away from the nearest larger cities. We didn’t choose this location just because the land out here was cheaper, making it easier to start a farm (though that helped). We specifically chose to live further away and start a farm because we didn’t want to be in the middle of the rat race anymore. We were making the conscious decision to step away from the city fast lane and all the things that represented in both work (being stuck in traffic, working in an office cubicle all day, etc.) and our personal lives (eating fast food or at restaurants all the time, sitting mindlessly in front of the TV after work, etc.).


We wanted to slow down, get outside more, find a community and really become a part of it, and be more conscious about the products we consumed. But most of all, we wanted to spend our time doing something we loved that was meaningful.


However, there is such a thing as city creep – and in this case, it means more than just a city slowly expanding into the country around it. No, here, city creep, is when Jason and I found ourselves slowly slipping into the same lifestyle we had before.


It’s a slow thing – so slow, you hardly even notice. It’s eating out once a week…then twice a week, then maybe three or four times in one week (that you pass off as some sort of special circumstance… but then do again the next week.) It’s choosing to stay in and watch another episode of whatever’s on Netflix instead of attending a community event. And worst of all, it’s finding that you’ve spent several consecutive days inside, only popping out once or twice for five or ten minute breaks to catch some sunshine. You start to realize that the slower, more mindful life you sought has slowly slipped back into the mindless routine you were trying to get away from.


Now that I’ve started to notice this, I’m trying to take steps to get back into the slower lane again. The first thing I did was to start walking our dog everyday. This allows me to slow down my thinking and just enjoy the land we own. I try to be mindful during these walks and really notice the trees, noting the many colors and seeing if I can spot the minute changes each day as spring emerges.


I think it’s also important to remind myself that I don’t need to have a reason to be outside. I can just go outside, sit in the woods, and let my thoughts drift with no specific intention in mind.


Slowing down and enjoying this life is the goal. Let’s just hope we can remember to stay slowed down.


I think I’ll go for a walk in the woods.

Jennifer Jelliff-Russell

About Jennifer Jelliff-Russell

Jennifer is an employment specialist and writer with novels in women’s fiction and science fiction. She and her husband, Jason, decided to move from Tennessee to Maine and homestead using the most environmentally sound farming practices possible such as organic farming and permaculture. At the same time, they will also be slowly renovating their 1900s Maine farmhouse in order to make it more self-sufficient with the eventual goal of going off grid. Let the homesteading (mis)adventures begin!