Go outside, even when it's uncomfortable.

I have seven (at least) whopping chigger bites. Three clustered under one arm, two on my back, one behind my knee and one right where my leg attaches to my body. They itch like the dickens. I'm relieved to know that there are no chiggers embedded in me, contrary to popular tales, so therefore I do not need to "suffocate" them with clear nail polish or other home remedies. They'll heal on their own in another day or two.

My legs are also scratched up from running into blackberry brambles and cat claw vines. And you know what? It's really not a big deal.

I've learned that sometimes it's worth experiencing a little discomfort for what I gain visiting wild places. Nature brings us so many benefits to body and soul, even when it includes some sweating or bug bites.

I call it the Heidi effect. Heidi lived in the fresh mountain meadows and was a happy healthy little girl. When sickly Clara came to visit her from the sooty big city, Clara grew stronger and became well- just from eating the fresh foods from the farm and drinking in the clear mountain air. Modern research confirms this for us. Nature is so important for our well-being.  

I've been in nature a lot the past week: camping on a sandy beach by a creek under the stars listening to coyotes - I even saw two drift nearly silently through the woods on the other side of the creek - mysterious beautiful creatures! I spent a day exploring a small taste of the Florida Trail, enjoyed jumping in the waves in the Gulf of Mexico, and I loved christening the spring-fed pond on a friend's new land with the first swim of the season.

I've met turtles and snakes, watched the almost-full moon drift over and above the oak trees, and spontaneously danced in a morning rain shower. I've put my toes in clear-blue springs where Ponce de Leon once searched for youth.

In the evenings, we've set intentions, played with paints, talked, feasted and dreamed. For the second part of this beautiful week in nature, I've had a cozy bed to retire to instead of my sleeping bag under the sky. Both are wonderful. Inside is nice when there are thunderstorms, or when you want to stay up late creating or watching back episodes of Alone, a show where people REALLY spend time in nature, surviving in the elements far beyond the discomfort of a chigger bite or two.

Anyway, it's a perfect time to go outside. To explore. To notice. Don't let a little rain or the possibility of an insect bite keep you away from the magic of what you might discover.Grab your bug repellent and an umbrella and go forth.