Outdoor round fire pit in the middle of a table.

Craig Nelson (a.k.a. Lil’ Craig), Director of Operations at Topiarius, shares what it means to #LBO:

To experience beauty in anything, there has to be a something not so beautiful to compare it to. For me, in order to experience the beauty outdoors, I welcome the not so beautiful, though it’s not always by choice. I’m going to use the phrase “welcome discomfort” as a means of making my point. (By the way, I kind of stole/modified the phrase from a YouTube channel whose motto it is to seek discomfort.) I like to welcome discomfort, because that makes even the small things outdoors beautiful. I’ll give some examples below.

Plant care and landscape – Though I am no designer, I still have fun constantly transplanting or planting rescued plants around my house. It can be messy work, but it’s so rewarding to work with living things and experience their recovery, growth, and beauty.

Making any ol’ thing – I can’t help but want to make something myself that I’ve seen or thought up. Under the July sun this summer I built a pretty large bench with cushions, a big poured concrete coffee table with a wood fire pit in the middle, a little countertop/sink, and a stand-up bar area. I suffered sweat, sunburn, bruises, and experienced my first sciatica pains, but now I have a beautiful and comfortable place to sit and enjoy my yard with my family! What I didn’t anticipate, was how easy of a place it is to fall asleep at night. No joke, whether by choice or drifting off after a few drinks, I’ve slept outside on that bench about 50 percent of time since I built it.

Running around in the woods – I do a lot of running and have done so on and off since high school. It wasn’t until the last few years that I realized I don’t have to stick to a sidewalk or bike path. I first discovered the horse paths by me, then unmaintained single track trails, and even deer trails. Hell, if a trail disappears, well I just fight through whatever wilderness is in front of me and find the next one. For a real fun factor, I do it in the dark with a flashlight. I feel like a little kid again, even though I can’t brush off the injuries and elements like I could as a kid. There are all kinds of ways to experience discomfort while running outside year-round, but the payoffs are worth it! The wildlife, insects, flowers, trees, rivers, and how the seasons affect them all are just a few to list.

My point is this, to me, living beautifully outdoors to me means I like to welcome getting soaked in the rain to appreciate an umbrella. I welcome a rock as a seat to appreciate a cushioned bench. I welcome a sunburn to appreciate the shade from a tree. I welcome dirty hands to appreciate a sink. I welcome the cold to appreciate a fire. I welcome discomfort to know comfort.

P.S. Try going outside naked!


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