This week, at our regular outdoor session spot, there was a moment when the clouds drifted apart enough to allow the winter sun an opening. I was standing a few feet away from a group of children, their laughter floating around me on the wind when it happened. Just a brief few minutes where nature smiled on us out there, welcoming us home. The light filtered down and caught the rolling river rapids in a playful embrace, making the water seem alive with joy before the clouds shifted back together and it was gone. If I had been facing any other direction, or, if I had been distracted by something else, I would have missed it.
We miss a lot of moments. In the bustle of life. In the stress of wide-awake nights. In the search for a life, we idolized and are still striving to attain. We miss stuff.
The forest though, it simply waits there for you. The time worn rocks, the towering trees, the networks of moss and mushrooms. Waiting. Out here, there is no rushing. There is just the softness of a tree canopy sheltering you, holding you as you traverse the landscape. It is a teacher that is always there, full of patience and promise. You know it. You recognize the familiarity of a mother no matter how long you have been absent.
Your children were born of water, rushing forward into the world on a wave of it. They are immediately at home near the sound of a swollen winter river. How can we ensure they do not forget? How do we, as parents, as educators, keep the relationship between our children, ourselves and the earth thriving? How can we give the next generation the gift of connection and the responsibility of stewardship while rekindling our own hearth fires?
The pedagogical answer is complex. It is full of science and intellectual theory. Its articles cited and professionals quoted. I am not talking about that here though. That is the easy part. The brain work.
I am talking about the innate. The heart. The very essence of humanity in a dew drop or spiderweb. It seems like a daunting task. To strip those layers of conditioning off. To peel back the skepticism and dive deep. It might be but, what if we just began by….. going outside?