Its been hot this week, for the first time in what feels like forever, and it's fun to sit outside and hear the neighbourhood rustling back to life. Music drifts from one house into the warm air, patio doors open and close and disgorge family members into the sun, and the laughter of kids rings out from yard to yard. It feels like summer, and immediately lifts the spirits.
Of course, when I invite my kids to come outside and play, they generally decline. This is why we originally took up camping a few summers ago, because we needed to force our hothouse plant children into the open air. William will play outside provided he has a good reason (and there are no bugs or trains or barking dogs to terrify him) and can find a friend to run around with, but Ava needs a lot of convincing.
Until the last few years, I was similar in my outlook, so it's difficult for me to be too hard on her, but Jason is an outdoorsy guy, and is baffled by his family's preference to be inside. I'm learning to appreciate nature and enjoy the sun and the wind and the robin's egg blue of the sky more than I have in the past, but like everything, it is a work in progress.
I hope it's not too late for my kids to enjoy nature a little more. Part of the magic of childhood is unplugging from the slavery of our various electronic devices and immersing ourselves in the joys of nature. The ticklish feel of grass under our bare feet, the sound of a distant lawnmower, the vividness of the colours we see, and the smell of smoke from a bonfire or a barbeque; all of these can combine to create some delicious memories, provided we notice what is going on around us.
This year I'm determined to be present in my outdoor surroundings. I want to rustle back to life as my neighbours have, and bring my mood into line with the joys of what nature is offering me. It's all there, right in front of me, provided I will unplug and go to be part of it. There is more to life than simple productivity. There are things which nurture the soul, and need to be discovered in an unhurried manner, and savoured to be remembered to the fullest.