Today we celebrated Not-Back-to-School.
I told my
kids we would be traveling a few miles to the local arboretum and doing
some hiking and after 2 hours of prep and packing and some mild attitude
issues we were finally ready for our adventure.
impressed lately for the need for us as a family to leave our comfort
zones more often and do this thing called "travel". Some find this
venture to be delightful but I personally would just rather stay home in
my cluttered but familiar surroundings. So today we "traveled" a whole
20 minutes from our doorstop to the virtual wilderness of several acres
filled with trees and wildlife but no people or comfort. Upon arrival we
drove through the park and cased out a good picnic spot while I pointed
out the nature trails we would be hiking later. I judiciously cautioned
the kids to make sure they put on bug spray before hiking and to watch
out for poison ivy.
That's when the most surprising thing happened.
5 year old daughter cried upon leaving the van because she was afraid
of the grass. My 7 & 9 year old boys cautiously cased out the
trees and grass before settling on a suitable tree to climb and my 3
year old son promptly unloaded his personally packed trike from the back
of the van to ride.
So why was this all surprising?
these are the same children who are used to playing for hours in our
yard. These are the children who are frequently covered in mud, water
and various other means of filth on a regular basis. These are the same
children who capture and proudly display icky little critters in glass
Somehow I have had this notion that sending my children out
of doors at home was enough to make them comfortable in the big wide
wild world. I assumed assigning them to pick off potato bugs and
harlequin beetles from garden plants would harden them to the unknown
discoveries of hiking.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
managed to "hike" a full 3/4 mile on 2 different trails. Most of our
time was spent in waiting for the path to be cleared by the leading
child from spiders and their webs. The most often repeated phrase was
"I'm scared" used upon seeing greenbrier, mole holes, webs, tall grass,
rickety bridges and mossy branches.
Somehow we survived.
grand ideas of collecting nature objects to inspire nature journaling
have been slightly dampened on seeing the need for my children to become
comfortable in the wildness of being out of doors. I don't know if my
children "learned" anything but I their mother did. There is a big
difference between exploring your citified yard close to an
air-conditioned house and working bathrooms and spending time in a
primitive slightly wild adventure. It's not just about becoming familiar
with the names and appearance of the natural world its about having the
courage to explore and not being afraid to experience the consequences
from that courage.
So I wonder who got too close to the poison ivy?