September 18th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #972 'Take a hike'

Reporter's Note: President Obama must sometimes feel kind of trapped in the White House. Thankfully my letters give him a kind of way out.

Dear Mr. President,

I must say that I am enjoying the coolness in the air as autumn creeps into DC. My younger daughter walked out of our front door with me the other day on her way to school and said, “I just love the changing of the seasons.” Have you had a chance to enjoy it much?

Try to make a point of it, despite your busy schedule, especially when the leaves start changing. The whole town can be beautiful at such times.

I have read that Theodore Roosevelt used to ride his horse through the Rock Creek area when he was President, splashing through streams, and squeezing off shots from a revolver at trees and rocks while he galloped.

I believe he also skinny dipped in the Potomac from time to time. Not sure about that, but he was certainly a great lover of nature, and that is something I would like to be able to say about all our presidents. Not because they all need to be allied with the environmental movement, or animal rights, or anything like that (although they certainly can be) but rather because being in touch with nature is one of the surest ways to maintain perspective.

I’ve mentioned to you how much I have been running trails in the woods lately. Amid the silence of the trees, with nothing but the soft crunch of leaves and twigs beneath my feet; feeling the chilly air or the baking sun; watching birds flitting, and tadpoles hatching; it all reminds me with every step of the transient, and relatively insignificant nature of my worries.

It says that there is something bigger than me, and that is a lesson I need every day. Because it reminds me of others; their problems, their points of views, their lives and loves; the simple fact that they too have just as much right to roam this earth and dream as I do.

So while I don’t suppose you can rent a horse and blast your way through the town as your predecessor did, I would urge you to take a walk, Mr. President. If not every week, at least each time the seasons turn. Look at the wonders of our world. Pick up a stone, and find perspective underneath.

We all need it, and can never have too much.

Anyway…I’ve rattled on. Want to come over to watch football tonight? My wife has made chili, and it’s great! Let me know.