Going Back to My Roots

Ecotherapy is more than just going for a walk in the woods. It’s integrating yourself into nature for a therapeutic effect. For some, doing farm work or gardening is just as soothing as laying under a tree on a gorgeous day. Some get their ecotherapy from going out looking for wildlife to discover, learn and approach. I enjoy the discovery and exploration aspect of nature. It’s a euphoric feeling that is rarely matched by anything else. During my reading week, I went to explore a part of the Greenbelt, Shirleys Bay


As a child, I was very outdoorsy. My two best friends and I would always reconvene at the dead end that joined the streets we lived on. Behind the dead end was a creek. We’d adventure in the forest during the summer, and run around the frozen creek during the winter, trying to walk the entirety of it. Most of my vivid memories as a child are the ones spent outside. I explored every nook and cranny of the forest surrounding my house.


I was like this until I was hit with depression in grade eleven. I spent most of my time inside, shut in my room, or out at parties doing regrettable things and barely remembering these cringeworthy memories. I strayed from my usual adventures for ones I thought were more important; to be “cool”. If I could go back and do it again, I’d rather live in the forest than relive my embarrassments. Luckily, I no longer let my regrets torment me. What was tormenting me was the fact that most of my reading week was spent inside, so I planned an adventure.


Shirleys Bay is a little bit outside of Ottawa, but is easy to get to, and it allowed me to enjoy some escapism; I witnessed a multitude of birds just going about their day. I was never much of a bird watcher, but I was awestruck at their elegant movements. I’m pretty sure I saw two birds dancing in the air together. It encouraged me to spin my girlfriend around, but she didn’t find I was as suave as the birds. 


There were quite a few people out on their boats that day, and I won’t lie that I was a little green with envy. I haven’t been out on the water in many years, but it’s quite refreshing. There’s not much more soothing than the calm water, where much is unsullied by people. I’d love to go sailing or kayaking in Shirleys Bay, soaking in the scenery and do some bird watching. Maybe next time I’ll actually know what kind of birds I’m looking at.


Maxime Gareau

Maxime is a professional writing student who enjoys every slice that life has to offer. He is a nature enthusiast, a techie, music geek, gamer, literary nerd, and a cycling aficionado. Finding inspiration in everyone and everything, Maxime enjoys observing life through the looking glass.

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