Publisher - March 2024

“Look deep into nature,
and then you will understand everything better.”
—Albert Einstein—

Although I spent a great deal of time outdoors playing when I was growing up, I never considered myself outdoorsy. In fact, if I had a choice to either clean the house or do yard work, I always chose housework. The yard was not my thing. I was terrified of lizards and despised bugs. Plus, growing up in the inferno of the South, Columbia (SC), I had no desire to pick up pinecones in the summer heat, even if I was getting paid a penny a piece.

When I hear about women who adore nature and the great outdoors, I usually think of hikers, campers, climbers, kayakers, naturalists, master gardeners—and a vast amount of khaki. Perhaps, I confuse adventurous with outdoorsy. Nonetheless, I have learned we are all nature girls, which includes even the most frou-frou among us, (no khaki required) because we are all at the mercy of the sun and moon to give us life.

This makes nature an essential part of our wellbeing. One of the sun’s most well-known benefits is initiating the body’s process of producing Vitamin D,
helping to reduce inflammation, support healthy bones, manage calcium levels, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and increase mental well-being. Being in the sun, naturally makes people feel good. Did you know sunlight supports better sleep and sets our circadian rhythms by regulating levels of serotonin and melatonin? How about that fact, fellow nature girl? Are you feeling more outdoorsy now?

Let’s talk about the moon and the lunacy it can cause. Most scientific research has been inconclusive when it comes to the moon affecting or benefitting the human body. Unlike sunshine, moonshine from above hasn’t proven its powers on people. However, moonshine from the backwoods of Kentucky definitely has its proof. The funny thing is, both types of moonshine can wreak havoc. Just ask a police officer, a labor and delivery nurse or a school teacher. It seems the magnetism of the full moon loves to ruffle human behavior and make waves—basically, the same thing it does to the ocean.

The cover of the first issue of Pink—April 2004 (which means Pink turns 20 next month!)—featured a woman with parasol, bent over her flower garden, under the fullness of the moon. The caption read, “She gardened in the moonlight.” This ignited my “hell yeah” button. To me, there was something about a woman, outside, gardening in the moonlight, that screamed independence, non-conformity, a “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” attitude. It empowered me!

Now, I’m going to tell you a secret about something else that empowers me. I have a wild side. (I bet you do, too!) In my case, however, I mean out in the wild. Although it’s been years, I can bait my own hook with a live worm. I don’t mind getting dirty; I am equal now on yard work versus housework. And I’m learning to back a trailer, which takes skill and patience, but I have a good teacher. But mostly, I feel strong and at home when I go to the country and tromp around the land, woods and pastures. When I do this, I wear snake boots.

I never had snake boots until my boyfriend presented me with my very own pair. If Cinderella thought she felt good in her glass slippers, she had no idea what snake boots could do for her. (Full transparency—I have yet to encounter a snake, and I hope not to.) I never knew thick, clunky camo up to my knees could be so empowering—hit that “hell yeah” button. I love these boots because I feel protected and powerful, like I can go anywhere—they are like superman’s cape or something. I don’t want to take them off when I wear them. If I put them on in the morning (and I only do so to head to the country) I end up wearing them all day, like to the grocery store or to run errands. I can’t explain it. Maybe I feel like the protective boots send a message to snakes of all varieties—“Don’t mess with me!” Snake boots and a smile are a dynamic duo—they let people know “I’m nice, but I have boundaries and I’m not afraid to protect them.”

Nature thrives on boundaries. Think of the banks of a river as its boundary. If water exceeds the bank, a.k.a. floods, the boundary is crossed, which can cause great destruction. In fact, most storms—tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis—occur when boundaries have been crossed to create out of control weather. Earthquakes are a prime example of the earth’s inner core plates crossing each other’s boundaries. Mother Nature knows when her boundaries have been crossed, and she lets us know about it. Isn’t it interesting how Mother Nature teaches us that crossing boundaries creates destruction?

There are so many life lessons to be gleaned from nature. The great outdoors stimulates all of our senses—sound, smell, sight, taste, and touch. Nature offers unrivaled magic. Hear the birds, the wind, the crashing, rhythmic waves. Smell the pine, pluff mud, and salt air. See the clouds, the sunsets, the perfect graphics on a nautilus shell. Taste the local bee honey, fresh veggies and foraged mushrooms. Feel the softness of a rose petal, the stick of a sandspur, and the rigidness of tree bark. It all works together for the purpose of life—my life, your life, human life. If we get out there and pay attention, it can teach us how to live our best lives. Nature has a way of helping us think clearer, feel better, get connected, and be present, happier and stronger.

How lucky are we to all be nature girls, even if we don’t hike Everest or safari in Africa? Just by doing things as easy as going for a walk, spending time at the beach, watching and listening to a woodpecker, or sitting on the patio to simply soak in some sunshine, we are absorbing the benefits of nature.

There are so many wonderful, beautiful, interesting ways to embrace nature and love it. I promise it will love you back…and maybe even empower you to set a boundary or two.

Think Pink,
Elizabeth Millen