You sit. The clock is ticking. You hear only the clock. And all the stress and anxiety vanish.
Laughing with friends around a backyard campfire on a Friday night. Distant traffic and an occasional train whistle provide the soundtrack. The weight of the week disappears.
Sitting quietly on a rock on Day 20 of a 30-day solo backpacking trip. Hearing birds overhead and seeing every pine needle with clarity.
Solace and solitude.
Solace and solitude, however, do not mean the same thing.
Solace is the finding of comfort in times of distress. Solitude is being alone.
For the past year and a half, most of us have tackled a mountain of experiences and emotions related to the global health pandemic. We know solitude. Head in hands, confused, feeling pain, sorrow or anxiety, we have all been bombarded by the thought that something has got to change.
Want to know my take on this universally felt emotion? Find yourself some solace. Sure, maybe solitude seekers have an easier go of it. That’s because avoidance and denial are always the easy way out. What I know is that it has been a long time and a hard time for many of us. And many of us are now seeking solace.
“In reaching for stone, wood, water, and feather, I found my own edges softening, scars fading.”
~ Heather Durham
Getting outdoors — either alone or with close friends — has always been a way for me to find solace. Here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), we design a variety of outdoor programs that can provide that which you seek. We work with all types of schools, groups, and organizations to provide many radically different outcomes.
And one thing that is common to all of our courses is what we call the