Winter hibernation is over!

Winter hibernation is over!

5 good reasons to get outside

I am a transplant. My reasons for moving to Portland with my wife three years ago may sound familiar to some of us: we wanted to live in a place where we can appreciate the beauty that is the natural world of the Pacific Northwest. The Portland area has year-round greenery, waterfalls, wildlife, flowers that seem to bloom non-stop, mild winters, and of course plenty of precipitation to keep things looking fresh and lush! On the flipside, I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, and even though I haven’t lived there since my childhood, I still remember the dark, brutally cold winter months that felt more like testing my resolve for survival than anything else.

So yes, the winter months here in Portland are dark and wet…really dark and wet. But with the transition of the seasons comes new opportunity for us to enjoy the natural beauty that is all around us once again! So, here are some things about getting outside we may have forgotten about during our winter hibernation:

Say hello to your neighbors. Remember them? They are still there! What a gift it is to have community! It’s okay to knock on a door just to say hello.

Go for a walk. Walking is so good for all of us. We may have put it on the back burner for a while, so find your sneakers and get outside. And if you have a dog, don’t forget them!

Head to the park. There is this wonderful place that is usually free to go to, where other people are congregating, and people rarely have a bad experience. Grab your family and friends and head out for a wonderful time.

Enjoy the daylight. The days are growing longer and longer. Take advantage of these days by getting outside during the times that were once in the dark. You will find yourself feeling more upbeat, more energetic, and generally healthier.

Put the phone away, breathe in deeply, be mindful of the present. Getting outside allows for us to put aside so many of the distractions of our daily routines. Use the opportunities we have to savor our time on this earth for what is, with people we love and enjoy, and our community that has been placed in this particular time and place for a reason that we may never fully understand, but we can certainly appreciate.

…and if the community gets on your nerves, then head on out to the acres and acres of wilderness that surround this wonderful city!

Rev. Jeff Binder, Pastor, Valley Community Presbyterian Church can be reached by visiting