Playing outside…

Secret Garden
Secret Garden

I have great compassion for the kids today – growing up in a world where “time” is so important and there is never enough of it! Have you ever noticed that those days when you wander aimlessly in nature with no special destination or goal, that time meanders with you – stretching out lazily and luxuriously? But when you are busy and stressed and your day is filled with “tasks”, time slithers away like quicksilver! That sure is my experience of it… The whole passage of that thing we call time seems simply to be an illusion.

Log in the Frog Pond
Log in the Frog Pond

We were very fortunate as children. We lived before the “Age of Fear” became established. So many modern children are no longer free to roam and explore and discover the world on their own and spend hours each day outside in nature; building “forts”, riding bikes, playing unsupervised by adults. I wonder how that will change the adults of tomorrow? The world is so steeped in fear and controls right now, that it can’t help but feel very different to the people who are kids today. Even my kids played much as we did – outside most of the time. It’s in the next generations that the “rules” changed.

Prairie Coneflower closeup
Prairie Coneflower closeup

So many kids today have every hour of their day filled with activities, and their young parents seem to have it no better. What “free” time they have is filled with online activities. Where is the time for “mindlessly” staring at a creek or lying in a field watching the clouds float by, “meditating” in an informal and natural way – practising mindfulness without ever knowing the word? We were almost always “outside”, we never wanted to be inside. Without ever knowing we were doing it, we were staying connected to the earth – running barefoot all summer long, feeling a part of nature; swimming in streams and lakes, climbing trees, digging tunnels and “forts”, foraging for wild foods. I recognize that we have come a long way, we are better humans in so many ways, more open and tolerant (in spite of what you hear if you listen to the “news”!) and wise. I am certainly not advocating a return to the way things were, simply noticing those really worthy things that from time to time become momentarily lost to us – like eating real whole food free of harmful chemicals, eating together as a family – and playing outside…

Daylilies, grape vines and new spring asparagus
Daylilies, grape vines and new spring asparagus
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2 comments

  1. I am so glad I grew up in a day that allowed me to spend time “doing nothing”! But, I did have piano to practice and I always had my nose in a book. I am not connected to enough kids today to know if they have some free time outside of organized sports, school, homework, TV, and texting conversations with friends. I hope the young ones do, anyway! We should encourage more cloud watching, playing with bugs, floating leaves down the river. I still try to set time aside to do that, but projects tend to dominate my time. Although, I must say a lot of that falls in the category of playing in the mud !!

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