“The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” – Richard Louv
In Canada, we say there’s no such thing as bad weather – there’s just bad clothing.
In Guatemala, we say the country is so messed up in so many ways that we just have to brag about the weather.
“Let’s go outside” has been the refrain of our days. We have no excuse not to – blue skies, blazing sun, little hands seeking mud.
And yet, yesterday I didn’t feel like it.
There are days when you want to pull the curtains and fall asleep with a book on your chest. There are days overburdened with responsibility, grief, overwhelm. The nights have been too long, coughs too sharp, and you feel it’s your moral duty to carry the weight of the sky.
And yet, you don’t need to.
What you do need to do, when it’s one of those days, is go outside.
On my bookshelf, there is a book by Richard Louv called Last Child In The Woods. I read it in the hammock beneath banana trees while expecting my second child. Reading it in bed seemed wrong somehow, self-imposed imprisonment, and the breeze was lovely.
“The woods,” writes Louv, “were my Ritalin.”
There is a sense of urgency to his words – and with good reason. We stare at the computer screen longer than we stare at the clouds, or the wind moving through the trees. By pure exposure, our children are drawn to technology in a way we never really were. But at what cost?
What you’ll discover as soon as you hear the snap of sticks underfoot is this: the outside world is as good for you as it is for your kids.
“Let’s go outside,” says Mia. “Please, please, please, please, please.”
And so, outside we go.
We head down the path leading to the lake, to the tiny little beach a kind soul carved out between tall reeds. We were here yesterday, and the day before, but kids never get seem to get bored of mud.
We stay until the sun starts to slip behind the volcano. And I think of water and rocks and shells, and how that’s enough.
We walk home, up the path, past the eucalyptus tree, past the avocado tree.
High above us, a flock of birds swerves out of sight, writing their own story across the sky.