Throughout my life, when I’ve felt depressed, I’ve found that walking or driving can improve my mood. At these times I feel lost and unsure of how to move forward with my life. When walking or driving I am free of life’s distractions and I have time to think and reconnect with myself. During these activities I have noticed things that seem to mirror how I feel.

Path through trees, B&W

For example, I’ve driven through fog, which can be challenging depending on how dense the fog is. I drive slowly, watching for other cars and keeping a close eye on the road ahead. Then suddenly there is a break, sunshine pours through and everything is clear.  I can see more fog up ahead, hiding the road in the greyness, yet for a few moments I feel that everything is right in the world.

Dirt path winding through trees

Or I will be out hiking and the trail curves or it is hidden by trees. I am unsure of what lies ahead, yet I know when I planned my hike that the path will take me to the place I want to go. My mind starts thinking of the bad things that can happen, such as the path might be closed and I may have to take a detour. Or I might have to backtrack and take another way in order to get to where I want to go.  Blocks like this don’t happen often but I have enough experience to know that I can find a way around them. Sometimes I have to go back to my starting place and plan for a hike on another day. Those days are disappointing even though I know I can come back and finish my hike on another day.

Line of wooden poles next to a dirt path

These similarities help to remind me that I can also work through the problems in my life and that things will eventually work out.

Pictures by J.T. Harpster