Last weekend I decided to take my kids out of all the election noise and into the woods for a few hours. We didn’t take any toys along with us, not bats, no balls; it seemed like the right time to just let their play be guided by nature and allow them the space to apply their imaginations to whatever they found in the forest. They climbed up trees and played in the branches for five hours. I don’t think their feet touched the ground the entire time we were there, and it was a challenge to get them to leave their arboreal adventures when it was home time. This was an unplanned day of outdoor fun, but one I know they will remember.
When life sometimes feels hard we are often told to look for ways to stay grounded, to find our center. Many of us find our center, our ground, out in nature.
We all experience our own individual preferences for sensory interactions with nature, but finding your ground by being on the actual ground, or up a tree, or climbing a rock face, is a good start!
Walk, hike, build shelters, meditate, sit, listen, breath, roll in the dirt when no one is looking – do whatever it takes. And what joy there is in pointing out our small discoveries to our kids. Whether it’s asking them to consider and wonder at the weight and texture of different stones, to smell the soil, to hear the sound of fallen leaves underfoot; or maybe it’s observing the littlest of forest workers - the birds, the wildlife, the insects; or even just considering the seasonal sunlight, the shadows too; it all encourages them to understand nature and teach them about humanity’s place in something that is much bigger than ourselves.
Nature relies on a super fascinating and sensitive ecosystem bound by all kinds energy and relativity and it is the one thing that connects humanity, right down to the molecular level, to the very big universe we are part of.
What a powerful tool their minds and imaginations can be when paired with force like nature, and how lucky we are to be a part of this wonderful planet and to be helping our little ones discover it. To make memories in it. To connect with it.
Now is a good time to put yourself in the arms of humanity’s caretaker – nature – and love it back because the planet is, after all, the most important thing we have. Often it can be these small moments of freedom in, and connection with, the larger world that ends up being the very thing that magical childhood memories are made of.