Monday, September 26, 2011

Nature Study - Backyard Style

"In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace." 
- Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods

I believe this. I witness that freedom, that separate peace each time we head to the beach or the woods. These moments compel me to find more moments; to unwrap the gift of time and space while these younger years are still upon us.   

At times our manicured home life leaves me longing for something different. That different has been affectionately coined The Perfect Farm by Phil and I. There we would grow organic crops and watch from a distance as our girls explored the creek that curved delicately through our property. There would be no flies, no harsh weather conditions - simply enough variance that we could continue forward in our culinary pursuits of eating seasonally. Doesn't that sound nice? 

The neighborhood trees are beginning to change colors here. Last Friday I was feeling particularly homesick for the PF. Our time was limited and so were our surroundings. After lunch I opened our door and gently nudged the girls outside - all the while resenting the street lamps, the possibility of dog poop and the perfectly spaced Agapanthus. 

Where's the freedom I bemoaned within. I wanted more in that moment. Thankfully, my internal dialogue stopped just long enough to notice something outside of myself. 

The girls were captured. With concrete underfoot they explored with the same wonder of Solimar's shores. Each leaf held its own design - igniting their imaginations. 

Hailey set about making soup. There were herbs and spices,vegetables and noodles. 

Hannah invited a neighbor friend to join her in stringing leaves on to a piece of twine. They tied knots, poked holes and arranged this fallen foliage with creativity and care.

Humbled, I stepped back - essentially got out of the way, and began to soak in the warmth of this early afternoon. And there I was reminded in delicate form...

...that more often than we realize, nature is within our midst. That given time and space children (and adults) are incredibly resourceful. 

That discontentment is contagious and that the littlest are among the most astute when it comes to the grownups in their lives. 

That we can choose to see the beauty or not. That we can set our sights beyond today - everyday - and miss living the real and rich moments we have been given.

Soup's on!


  1. Love this post Cari! Thank you for the reminder of seeing the beauty in the small things of each day.

  2. Hee. Hee. Hee. Had to laugh at this one because I can totally relate. I have my property all planned in my head. I've, actually, drawn up a floorplan and have a plan for what crops I'll plant where. Where the herb garden will be, where the barn will be. . .ha. But alas! Here we are in our rental house in suburbia and the kids find amazing things in the properly landscaped back/front yards!