Just had this published in today's Kings County Record. Hope you enjoy the read and sorry for not posting more recently but the weather has been great and I've been spending a lot of time in the woods.
Fall is now in full swing and I have been driving from Sussex Corner to Alma to witness it over the last three days. It is amazing how trees in different areas have been turning at different paces. The maples as I leave the Kennebecasis valley are a crisp red and the birches and poplars are yellows. As I close in on Alma the maples are still clinging to the last remnants of green in their leaves and the birches and poplars are only slightly yellow.
The drive into the sunshine and fog in the morning is challenging as I squint against the glare in the windshield. I pull the visor down just as a moose crosses the road in front of me, no doubt just happy to have made it past the previous weekend. A brown oak leaf with a purple tinge floats towards my windshield before flying over the cab of the truck. The floating leaf takes my eyes towards Wolfe Lake where I notice a loon lazily swimming on the fog shrouded surface.
It was one of those mornings where everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. This is not the first time that I had felt this type of sensation and I was never able to explain it. Recently I read through a random web site that discussed an interesting study on how time slows down for people who experience a sense of "awe". It illustrated three different experiments and all had the same result. So now I have an explanation for that feeling that has now become familiar when I explore our wondrous part of the globe.
That feeling of awe can often be found when exploring our natural ecosystems. To further enhance the slow down effects of "awe" in nature consider this: because you have to literally slow down to explore nature, time is in super slow motion. No doubt your heart, blood pressure and many other physical conditions will improve in this altered state.
"Altered state?" This brings up another feeling I have come to know. I often feel a natural high when in nature. When I am pushing my body to its physical limits by climbing a series of tough hills it is baffling how I can smile and laugh at the end of the day. It isn't simply from the sense of accomplishment but the awe and physiological reactions to the physical activity.