CHC Board Member Jenny Goyne is a nurse at UVM Medical Center. Her perspective as a medical professional has given her an upclose and personal perspective on a situation that has affected every single one of us. Jenny shares this reflection on the importance of nature and wild spaces in these challenging times.
By Jenny Goyne, CHC Board Member
Yesterday I hiked.
A normal ritual on a day off.
To get away from it all. To recharge.
To take care of myself physically, mentally, spiritually.
I started out distracted, unsurprisingly.
This spring has been like no other in my career.
But I completed this hike focused, feeling grateful,
Connected to others, despite meandering alone.
As I hiked I caught the flash of a bluebird, flitting in the apple tree.
I saw the buds of the pussy willows all along the marsh.
I checked on the ramps down the bank, rising towards the sun.
I climbed up toward the mountain top, fresh bear tracks in the snow.
I heard the shrill of the red winged blackbird, announcing his return.
And the honking pair of geese swooping down into the pond.
The mourning doves cooed calmly, as I moved onward.
And the brook babbled softly, a brief hypnosis in the woods.
I felt the rough sides of the striped maples, peeled and stripped by moose.
I grabbed the cold and knobby rock, pulling myself up and to the summit.
I stood above the trees, a cool breeze caught me by surprise,
And then the sun came out and shone its warmth upon my face.
I turned to head back down, smelling the sweet earthiness of mud.
I descended among new sap lines, as well as buckets so very old.
I conjured up the smell of Grampa’s sugarhouse, just a few short years ago.
And I hiked back to the scent of woodfire, still warming my hillside home.
These wild spaces are so crucial to my profession as a nurse.
I take care of myself in the mountains, so I can care for others in the hospital.
I couldn’t do my job without this place of refuge.
My savior. My solace. The Great Outdoors.
I realize I should have thanked you long ago, I’ve thought of you all so many times.
While out exploring the vast landscape and planning my adventures.
While reading your newsletters during stuffy, windowless lunch breaks.
And while playing outdoor podcasts on those dark morning commutes.
Thank you - to the conservationists and wildlife biologists,
To the ecologists, ornithologists, and foresters,
To the outdoor educators, nonprofit orgs, and volunteer trail stewards,
and to all of you that make my outdoor recreation, and education, possible.
I’ve needed you this past decade.
I need you now.
And I’ll continue to need you as long as I live.
I couldn’t do my work, without you doing yours.
We are all in this together.