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Cultivate a Love Affair with Nature

Many years ago, my brother and his little family came out for a visit. While here, we took a trip to the Muir Woods, a state park north of San Francisco. The Red Woods are one of my most favorite places to explore. I love hiking through the calm, majestic trails. The tranquility always opens my mind to what it would have been like in JR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings as they trekked across uninhibited lands.

During our visit to the red woods, I remember watching my brother’s kids stomping in the puddles of water. They were having so much fun getting all muddy and wet. My first reaction was, “oh no, they are getting wet”. But, my sister-in-law, Emily, was not concerned. She came prepared with extra clothes in the car. Several people passed by with looks of disdain and shock. However, one older couple stopped to congratulate Emily on allowing her children to be children. Seeing my little niece and nephew play, made their day. They were troubled by parents today who do not allow their little ones the chance to play so freely.

Growing up, my siblings and I lived outdoors. The town was our playground to explore and discover from dawn to dusk. Our backyard was a world filled with amazement. My desire is to instill the same passion for nature in my children. Ever since we moved to a city lacking forest trails and nature parks, and moved into a house nestled in a small barren yard, I have felt hard pressed to come up with ways to share the importance of being among nature.

Getting into the car everyday to drive 30 minutes to an hour seems to take the creative soul right out of me. It took a while, but I have learned there are ways to enjoy my surroundings here at home.

  • Sometimes Stephen takes the children to jump on the trampoline. Exhausted, they lie down and watch the clouds roll by or look for shooting stars.
  • Where we live, clay is not my idea of mud, but it holds water well enough to splash in and get dirty.
  • In the planters, we love to uncover earthworms and other creepy crawly critters.
  • Early morning walks are the best time to catch snails and worms making their way across the sidewalks or listen to birds busily looking for breakfast.
  • Behind our home is a canal and plenty of rocks and sticks to throw.
  • Along the canal is a path with a variety of trees to study. Next time, we will have to bring our notebooks to make sketches and then we could attach the matching leaf and/or berry/flower.

There is something about nature that has the ability to reset the mind and calm the spirit. The demands of life seem to flitter away.  We can stop and we can begin to create.