Let Them Savor Nature
Caveat: if you live in the country, this will not apply to you, so just skip it or read it and pity us city folks who have to try so hard to find some dirt in which to play.
Discovering top-secret pine tree hideouts, laying down in knee-high field grass, clambering up rocky river banks, picking flowers under a brilliantly azure sky, skipping smooth stones on a placid lake or letting the pounding waves of the ocean mesmerize your senses.
It sounds so idyllic, doesn't it?
This is more what it looks like with our houseful of girls:
"Aaaahhhhhhhh! A bug!"
(eying crude toilet) "I'll hold it until Tuesday."
"When are we going home?"
(silent screams accompanied by impressively spastic footwork and followed by trying to play it cool) "Uh...Bug...?"
Not to mention all the pre-trip work that goes into an excursion: It takes several hours for us to prepare everything-meals made, baby gear checked, last minute bathroom treks, and the van loaded to capacity.
My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it. A trip through the Lowe's garden center starts looking more appealing.*
Our nature trips always seem to get off to a rocky start. The girls are uptight about bugs, one of them can't stand the feel of having dirty hands, the youngest will choose those moments to cry for no reason. However, the uneasiness fades and before long we spy our girls digging canals, casting their fishing rods like pros, and splashing in dirty river water without a second thought to what is lurking in the shallow waters.
Time spent in nature will always remain unmatched. There is no substitute and no close second. We're not talking about stepping out your front door to catch a breath of fresh air before tackling your bank statement. We're talking about getting away for a length of time (days, hours...doesn't matter) to experience God's canvas. Your modus operandi is of little consequence. Go camping in an RV, backpacking through a national forest, chasing lizards through the desert, or drifting in a canoe. Nature is nature and the benefits remain unchanged.
Our souls were never meant to connect with concrete and fluorescent lighting. Nature unfetters the soul; It breathes renewed vigor into the crevices and corners of the body and mind. Indulging a nature habit is indeed worth the hassle and can foster a lifelong conduit between our children and their Almighty Creator.
Country folks, breathe deeply and take not your surroundings for granted. Fellow city folks, don't breathe too deeply.** Instead, let's be willing to make the effort. Research nearby state parks, hiking/biking trails, farms, lakes, caves, whatever! In most cases we are not that far from natural beauty.
As Spring unfurls her wings in the Northern Hemisphere, now is the perfect time to soak in some nature. Just don't forget the moist towelettes and sunscreen.
Get Out And Get Dirty,
*Six packs of perennials and 50 lb. bags of mulch are nature-ish, right?
**Lest the pollution cause an asthma flare-up.