Sometimes it happens that despite my best intentions, we will go several days in a row without spending any time outside. Sure, we go out, but it is to run an errand, or get to another indoor place. Our time exposed to just the elements is between house and car, or car and store, and then we return again. We are not really having quality time in nature.
Today we went on a date, this Mumma and Simon. We had lunch at our favorite little market, followed by a trip to the library, before coming home to take a nap. However, the sun was shining and the day was nice, and I am kicking myself for not seizing the chance to be out in it, enjoying nature and the beauty of Fall while we still can. Winter will be here soon enough, with plenty of below freezing days dedicated to snuggling indoors. Through Winter, the library and market will always be warm.
As I have written about before, it is a bit harder to be frequently outside where we live now, without having a real yard. Our status as renters also limits what we can do with the space we have (i.e. no letting Simon dig extremely deep holes, or planting anything). But that is definitely no excuse for skipping the outdoors. We have a walkway, with a slight strip of grass, which must seem like quite the space for my little guy, as he is always somehow able to occupy himself there with rocks and sticks. We also have access to nearby parks, playgrounds, hiking trails, and open fields.
Nature is very important to this family, and I try to prioritize spending a little time in it whenever we are able. But life is life, and gets away from my grasp sometimes. There are places to go, appointments to keep, indoor activities that need doing, visits to make, as well as sheer laziness to contend with. I keep telling myself it will all get a bit easier when we move, that a bigger yard, or different location will somehow ensure us being out-of-doors all the time with ease. I often trick myself into believing a change of place will solve every current dissatisfaction that comes up. Blaming my city location, and lack of acreage for less motivation to get up and out is part of this.
The reality though, is that going outside every day–weather and health permitting–is a lot like eating your vegetables, or getting some exercise. It is extremely good for you, yet sometimes requires an extra effort to accomplish, though the reward is great.
I want Simon to explore, discover, roam, and connect to nature. I want him to learn how to care for the planet as well as his body. I want him to understand the impact people and the earth can have on one another and to appreciate the precious gift that we receive through understanding that relationship. I believe nature is good for creativity, and strength, and spirit, and that something as simple as making a mud pie, or gazing at clouds can stir up our sense of wonder and real connectedness.
So, right here and now, despite the increasing chill in these Autumn days, I vow to work harder to sneak in some outside time whenever I can. We don’t have to go far, we don’t have to do much more than look around, and we may have to bundle up…the important thing is getting out there.