Green Therapy

hate waking up in the morning. There is nothing more dreadful than the piercing light of the rising sun – except for, of course, the sound of the birds chirping, dragging me out of bed.

Or, well… I used to.

You see, there’s this thing I discovered: green therapy. Also known as nature therapy or, more technically, ecotherapy, it focuses on the connection between people and nature and the positive impacts that connection can have. Now, I didn’t stumble upon this concept through class or feeling about the internet. I just… felt it.

I know this sounds completely bizarre, and I thought so too, until I really dug into it, but: I love weeding. There is something so incredibly satisfying about walking up to a row of cilantro who looks like it could use some help and watching it transform before your eyes and by your hand to the neat, beautiful masterpiece we suppose nature meant it to be. More and more often, recently, I’ve found myself making excuses to wake up early to travel out to the Painted Turtle Farm or Sherfy Garden, just to sit around as the sun climbs the sky and pull pesky plants out of the earth.

It wasn’t all that surprising, but it was definitely unexpected. I’ve always been someone who enjoyed waking up early to go to the (horse) barn when I had work at 6 AM – but it’s well-known that animals are therapeutic. But the mental health benefits from plants work just the same. And it makes sense! I am constantly busy, running around and overstocking my schedule with things to keep me going. As enjoyable as I do find that most times, it does get stressful. What curbs stress more than watching yourself physically declutter something as beautiful as a row of rainbow chard? Feeling and seeing the effects of my own conscious, tedious work I’ve found to be the most therapeutic way to wake up yet.

When I found out I was going to be the point person for Sherfy Garden, I was a little disappointed. There are ticks and bees and spiders galore anywhere there’s dirt – why would I want to lie around in a garden at 6 AM twice a week? Now, here I am, excited to start my day off with a 6 AM alarm to tend to my seedlings and clear out my kale. As many people these past few weeks have exemplified, it really is the simple things in life that make it all worth living.

Jade Kling ’17
Gettysburg, PA