Over the weekend my friends and I roadtripped to central New Hampshire for Plymouth State University’s Earth Jam Festival.
We lucked out with a sunny Saturday with temperatures in the 50s-60s. (It was snowing when we drove up.)
PSU is wedged between one of the most beautiful parts of the East Coast: the White Mountains and NH’s lake region.
Plymouth is a quaint college town with a down home New England feel. Boutiques, a bookstore, an artisans’ co-op, a few pizzerias and bakeries dotted Main Street, which stretched for maybe a mile or two.
The artisans’ co-op, Artistic Roots, was my favorite shop. Local artists display and sell their work there and split working time.
I love the feeling of exploring a town for the first time, of aimlessly wandering into shops and learning the character of a place and its people. I love talking to locals about the city they live in and what the place means to them.
After exploring town we went to campus for the festival. With an undergrad population of 4,3000, PSU has a comfortable small town feel. Aesthetically, it’s the kind of place with that distinctive classic New England look. But what made PSU special was the lack of pristineness. It was aged and beautiful but not so kept up that it appeared stiff. The grass was played on and lived in; some buildings were washed out and faded; vines clung to some walls.
Hula hooping, slack lining, face painting, tie-dying, live music playing– that’s what sunny days are made of. Earth Jam consisted of those activities and more from noon till 11 p.m.
It felt so good to be a part of a festival again even if it was a small one day event. As I hula hooped barefoot, I grinned, knowing that festival season and happy days are just around the corner.
While I was at the artisans’ co-op, I had a conversation with one of the artists about appreciation and priorities. We talked about her proximity to the White Mountains and how often she actually hikes. We agreed that nature nourishes us and spending time outside feeds our souls, yet we often get so caught up in other things that we forget what’s most important. We forget to take the time to really look around us and realize our surroundings. Why do we do this? Do we get so used to our realities that we forget to take a breath and look around?
Our conversation sparked some questions that I wanted to share with you all and think about myself:
What are your priorities? Where does nature and appreciating the Earth stand on this list?
What natural surroundings (forests, mountains, lakes, etc.) are around your home? How often do you take time to explore these places and appreciate them?
What makes you feel the most nourished, happy, whole?
How can you incorporate these activities (the nourishing, happy ones) more into your everyday life? Is there anything you can cut out of your world/spend less time on so you can spend more time doing what you love?
Feel free to share your responses in the comments section. I’ll be thinking about the questions as well and possibly posting another post with my answers.
Cheers to a continuous blooming and awakening into a nourished, happy, and whole life…for all of us.