Monday, November 10, 2008

ode to my green space

I wish wish wish we lived someplace where I could take myself and my kids out our front door and be surrounded by trees, birds, animals, and all the heady nature we could handle. I would like to spend our days romping amoung the trees and bushes, much like parts of my own childhood was. When I was young, I was free range in fields, a farm, woodlands, and occasionally a lake. It hurts that I can not do the same for my own kids. We live in the middle of a city, on a busy road, surrounded by even busier roads. Sirens and diesel trucks roaring are more often the symphony we hear, not bird song, not the wind in the trees, not the busy sounds of millions of tiny creatures working, eating, and creating.
Which means that I am eternally grateful for the very rare, but very precious, square city block of green space just down the street from us. It's a rather tame little place - a few trees and a lot of grass. Mostly it's a place for people to let their dogs' relieve themselves. But to us it's a tiny corner of happy. It's good to walk on the green and fallen leaves rather than the pavement. It's good to be able to find enough natural material for a fairy home rather than resorting to using garbage blown around in empty lots. It scares me that this overcultivated bit of grass with a few trees represents 'nature' to my children. The natural hazards here are the occasional transient still crashed out in the trees when we walk through in the morning, broken glass, discarded drug paraphernalia, and dog doo doo. I'm glad we go camping to the mountains when we can, but, really, is this going to be it for my kids? Is the only way to reach nature going to be through driving several hours, using precious resources, creating an artifical home in a civilized campground?

I hope not.

In the meantime we make due. We love the heck out of a tiny stand of trees we can walk to. We play games and ooh and ahh the wasp's nest, the fallen leaves, the way the season's change familar plants.

Our new favorite game I lifted from Susan Usha Dermond's book (I think) is to blindfold Smootch and lead her to one of the trees, where she touches, smells, listens to, and even tastes the tree for a minute or two. Then I lead her away a bit, take off the blindfold, and she tries to identify which tree she was cozied up to. It's a good place for now.

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