I'm currently reading Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorderby Richard Louv. Halfway through the book, I started thinking "what in the world am I doing?"
It's a good book. A well written and interesting book. But it's everything I already know/feel. The book is filled with the science behind why playing outside and being involved in nature is important.
It's nice to know that research backs up what I already feel to be true, but a book like this isn't meant for someone like me. I would, however, recommend it to anyone trying to change a school curriculum or who may need some encouragement to get outdoors.
We spend most of our days in the forest. Here are a couple of shots of my kids enjoying a spring day in the forest behind our home.
"Fishing for Seaweed"
Throwing sticks -they could do this for hours
What bad mother lets her children climb on unsteady structures? Oops, that's me.
The most awesome fort ever! And more dangerous climbing, lol.
Each season brings it's own joys. The winter is a beautiful and entirely critter-free time to explore. Spring is my favorite. As soon as the weather hits 30 degrees, we spend every available moment in the woods. The bugs and poisonous leaves haven't woken up yet and the forest is my favorite place to be. After having spent so many hours indoors, it's wonderful to get out into the fresh air and sunshine.
We can explore the woods for hours and plan for the summer. As the ice melts and the buds start to open, we get to see everything come alive. Then everything comes alive. I'd love to tell you I was "smart" enough to stay out of the forest in the summer but it just isn't true. Even head to toe poison ivy (circa 2006 - requiring 1 whole month of prednisone) can't keep me away. The endless supply of wild berries and the cool retreat from the blazing sun are all too tempting.
When fall arrives, I can't explain the majestic beauty. The leaves, the colors, the breeze. You can't keep us out in the fall. Or any season. The best part is that my children also love the forest and have unlimited access to it. We chose carefully when we moved because we wanted so desperately to be close to the woods.
My friends and neighbors think I'm crazy (and maybe you do too.) They are afraid of the animals and sociopaths. Honestly, I'm not afraid of any of the forest animals. And that's not romanticizing nature. I've witnessed the sheer brutality. I just know my odds against most animals.
The only wild animals that might be trouble are cougars and bears but they're also the least likely. I'd also be surprised if we came across another human being. But if we were to meet up with a cougar, bear, or sociopath, rest assured I've planned for it. A good scout is always prepared. With that being said, it's not worth worrying about. A life is not worth living if you're not willing to really live it.