I do fine at getting outdoors enough in the summer. In the winter, though, I’m prone to spend far too much time indoors.
There’s a sidewalk around the interior of our apartment complex that makes for a fine short walk. (It takes about seven minutes, so I think it’s probably close to a third of a mile.) In the summer, I might do that walk at any time. In particular, I do it while I’m writing, when I find that the prose isn’t flowing. That’s usually a sign that I’ve taken a misstep in the story, and a seven-minute walk is often just what I need to figure out where I’ve gone astray.
In the winter, though, I don’t do that, because the cold and the snow turn the little walk into a big production. Changing into outdoor clothes (and then out of them again) can easily double the time for taking a quick walk, so instead of being seven minutes it’s a quarter of an hour. Plus, I figure if I’m making that kind of investment of time, I ought to do more than just walk around the block–I should get a real walk in, or run an errand.
That kind of thinking leads to trying to optimize my time–scheduling my walk not when I need a short break from writing to get back on track, but when I need to go to the bank or pick up something at the grocery store. And if I don’t have any such chore to justify the outing, I tend to just stay indoors all day. (One of the few upsides of having a regular job was that it did get me out every day.)
Since I know I’ll feel better if I do get out everyday, even if just for a few minutes, I’m thinking of creating an artificial errand: taking a picture. I figure it’s something that can be added onto any actual errands I have–I can just bring the camera along. If it seems like a day for a longer walk, I can take the camera along for that, too. And if it’s not a day for a long walk–if I’m busy, or the weather’s bad–I can just as easily take a picture on a short walk.
When I get a picture that I’m pleased with, I’ll post it here. This one’s from a day or two ago. When I was a boy, one had to be careful walking across a field of clover because there’d always be bees around. This summer, finding a bee on a clover was a rare treat.