Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Project Get Outside

This month I started a new project. I like to think of things in "projects." I don't really know why, other than that's how I did fairly well as an art major. I loved doing projects. Having ideas and visions and then working on them into completion. This month my brother moved down to Texas and we are all renting together now. Maybe him being here was what first gave me the bravery at first to get out and do a bit bigger things with the girls. I'm sure to a lot of mothers this is not really a big thing. But for me, it has always been really hard for me to get everyone ready and out the door. Most days I just want to stay at home. I think I was use to life in Arkansas and small country towns where you didn't have to really leave home to be outside in nature. Here in the city though, I think it takes more effort. We have to all get dressed and pack snacks and seize the day a bit. If I don't do this I feel like both of my children start to sort of go crazy, as do I. I think they have energy they need to give back to nature. And I, I need nature to give me that energy back. This is how "Project Get Outside" came into being.

Another huge factor that has made me feel more driven and passionate about getting outside was finally picking up the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. Andrew has had this book since college, since he majored in Outdoor Education. I had picked it up before, but it drew me in with new eyes now being a mother. I have been sad about the lack of free space we have in the city. So much so that I am often reevaluating my ideas of what is necessary for a happy childhood. I always thought I would love a big city. Which I do love the culture and entertainment I guess you could call it, that comes with a bigger city. I do however miss my laundry line so much that it literally makes me heart ache. I wish we could just open the door and be outside more. Sure, we can "be outside" but sidewalks and men doing landscaping just doesn't give me the same sense of calm as looking at cows grazing in a pasture.

This is a big topic for me, the idea of being outside and in nature and what it all means. I hope to sort of start a series on what I am learning as I read this book, and also what I am learning about myself and my own childhood. I have written before about walking through harvested cornfields as a child while staying with my Meme when my parents were getting a divorce. I went to the nature that was around me to escape. I have seen myself use nature for an escape and also therapeutic healing, Now I raise my daughters in the city and read this book and fear they will not know nature.

Marring the man I did though, I know he will continue to led us into the wild. But this project is more about myself and the girls. Me being only with two small children and saying yes to the adventure of being outside and in the wild. Maybe our wild will still have sidewalks, but it will be ours and we will learn more about ourselves each day.

Before I was sick last week, I had done over a week of outings. I think in nine days we had gotten out five times on our own and three other times with my brother or Andrew. I have been picking different parks and playgrounds. It doesn't always have to be woods or an empty field. Sometimes it is. Other times I take Blanche to a playground and we end up under the trees. Or like above she finds confetti on the ground from an old birthday party and makes flowers with them and sticks. Both of my girls are under three years old and not old enough to send out alone. But I can let them be. I can give them time. I think the biggest thing I have seen about myself so far is that I like to rush things and put it all on a nice schedule. Today we went to a park with a sandbox and after thirty minutes I felt like it was time to do something else. Blanche didn't. Thankfully I realized there wasn't anything else we needed to rush to do. I wore Rosemary in the carrier and let her nap while Blanche played for over an hour in the sand. I think that so many times children are rushed through their days and expected to behave and act as adults. There is something so magical about how well behaved they really are when you take them outside and just let them be.

1 comment:

  1. The Last Child in the woods is one of the few books that have really impacted my life. I think it's not just children who need to be outside more. I really believe God saved this little spot I live just for me - he knew just how much I needed to be in the woods every day. The first thing I do every morning is go from room to room - even the bathrooms - opening curtains/windows, letting in the light & air, standing & looking at the view, just taking it all in. I've worked on my yard so that I have something to see from each window, even if it's just the top of a tree & sky. I walk through every day looking at my flower beds & the wild edges of my yard - just looking - at flowers, leaves, signs of wildlife, pollinators.....

    I look forward to your posts as you read this book. It's a subject close to my heart as well.