Get Your Creative Juices Flowing With a Winter Walk in the Woods

Since moving to a new neighborhood I have come to realize something about myself. I really do love nature. Now I’ve always known that I’m a sucker for gorgeous scenery, one of many reasons I love to travel. But it wasn’t until moving to a woodsy neighborhood that I discovered that I not only enjoy gazing at the wonders of nature, I also like being in the midst of it all. I find it invigorating. Soothing. Mesmerizing. All at once. Nature does amazing things to spark creativity and the imagination.  

And surprisingly—at least it was a surprise to me—this doesn’t only happen in spring or summer. As the weather grew chillier the first year in our new neighborhood, I thought I would have to give up the walks I had come to treasure that summer to inspire my creativity. Fortunately this turned out not to be true at all. My walks in fall and winter have been equally rewarding and even reminded me of a couple of the scenes in my upcoming domestic suspense novel, You Never Know (which were actually inspired by an earlier walk along yet another wooded path not far from where I live). Fortunately, I fared a lot better than my fictional character did during my walks through the woods. I came out feeling safe and unbothered!

Although summer and spring walks are obviously pleasant and popular due to all the colorful flowers and shrubbery, a brisk walk in fall or winter can stir the imagination in new and unexpected ways. Some people think fall and winter are when nature goes to sleep and nothing much happens outdoors. I say this is when she takes a long, glorious break to relax and rediscover her groove. To replenish her energy reserves for the vibrant upcoming warm seasons.

All sorts of interesting and unusual shapes and patterns can be taken in during this time of year such as the looming bare trees as they meander across the sky. Some of the most breathtaking sights during a fall or winter walk in the woods are the setting sun as it blazes through the tall leafless trees, and the eerie shadows that are cast across the ground before you. You won’t see such sights in summer when the leaves fill the trees and tend to obscure the sun and dull the shadows. It’s so spellbinding and sure to inspire some creative ideas in even the most blocked writer or artist.

And as the leaves fall and the days grow shorter, a brisk walk or jog can also be a great way to get some exercise without breaking out into a big old, slimy sweat. The air is cooler, dryer, and more invigorating. Instead of being weighed down with heat and humidity, your thoughts feel freer to wander.

Do practice safety whenever you venture out into the woods. From late spring to early fall on the east coast is tick season, source of the dreaded Lyme disease. Deer are so prevalent in our area that hunting is permitted in the woods on certain days in the fall. I’ve known a couple of people to be struck with Lyme disease, something you definitely do not want to mess with . That means wearing a hat, long sleeves, socks and sturdy shoes before you hit that path through the woods to avoid it. And with fewer people out and about this time of year than in spring or summer, you might want to stick to safe areas that you’re familiar with. Or take a friend along with you.

So whether you're a writer, crafter, an artist, or simply a dreamer there is nothing like getting out in nature to fire up the creative juices. Just bundle up in some warm clothes and head out to take in new inspiring sights and sounds. Nature laid bare is a magical source of inspiration for creative endeavors. It may be just the spark you need for your next winning idea.

Who was that stalking me on my walk through the woods? Oh, it was only my shadow…. Or was it?

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