Monday, May 11, 2009


We've begun a new ritual here in the mornings. After breakfast the children and I have been getting on our jackets and shoes, with Smootch in whatever takes her fancy at that moment and Birdie boy in his touque and felted wool footie pants to keep the morning dew off his legs, and tromping out to our little patch of neighborhood green.

I've written odes to this little patch of nature before. We actually walk past it to take Smootch to school, it's been the scene of many a playdate, and we've gone on numerous journeys through the trees to watch the seasons change. You'd think I'd get tired of it. Yet visiting it every morning for just half an hour or so has deepened my love for it.

The thing about nature is that the more you look the more interesting it becomes. It's gratifying to be able to share this wisdom with my children even here in the middle of the city. Sometimes there is a sense in our public discussion that the only real nature is that which is pristine wilderness. Sometimes that wilderness is deemed valuable because of it's beauty and knowledge that it can teach, and, frighteningly often, it's because it's seen as an raw resource waiting exploitation or a challenging environment to rip up with an ATV or SUV. We often discount our tame bits of nature in urban and suburban places and the positive impact it has on our mental and physical health. We see the mountain tops and seasides as sites of healing and communion with our sacred selves. Yet to find this sense of transcendence you really do not need to take a long physical journey, just open your eyes to the possibilities right where you are. If you live by a small stand of trees, overgrown garden, or a bit of untended grassland in the city you know what a bit of magic that can be, especially if you are lucky enough to visit it with children.

For us, right now, our nature getaway happens every morning just as the sun is above the rooftops.

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