Last month the University of Utah and the University of Kansas published a report about the relationship between creativity and nature. Backpackers scored 50 percent better on a creativity test after spending four days in nature disconnected from electronic devices. Two weeks ago I decided to test this. After school visits in Logan I stayed over in a tiny shack in the middle of a small valley in Paradise Utah for two days.
This is what I wrote in my journal:
The sun came out so I’ve moved outside. I’ve enthroned myself on a frozen lawn chair in front of my cabin. I’m wearing enough clothes to be the little boy in Christmas Story. The snow drips to water and slips from the small cabin roof threading a hole in the snow. The valley, grey just a few hours earlier is now sparkling. A farm dog barks someplace far off. A blue heron glides overhead. Two lonely cars slush by on the country road. The stream swish swishes below, catching in the hollow chambers of ice, echoing as it moves along in the cold tumble of the current. The cattails waver under the weight of their snowcaps in the warmth of the afternoon. In the quick quiet thaw I feel my whole heart being lifted up, warmed and cleaned. What is the value of creativity in dollars and objects? I don’t know. But I can feel it float under my skin like the water under ice. I can feel it release an entirely addicting chemical in my brain called happiness, and it’s brave twin, hope.