There’s something really neat about growing up in nature — you develop a connection with the land. Growing up I always had a really strong sense of where our food originated, the importance of reduce-reuse-recycle, and animal protection. I felt very centered in the world and I fully understood that I was a small speck on a massive, complex organism that deserved my respect. My first love was the Yukon, and while other puppy romances fade faster than memories I still swoon at photos of tree-covered hills with wild rivers cutting through.
I’d be there now, really, if I didn’t love Paul even more than the Yukon. Good thing he’s an outdoorsy. His parents live in the Garden of Eden and he dreams of being able to move there so we can always enjoy what Michigan has to offer.
Somewhere along the path of our collective life we’ve been so consumed with reaching stability in career, finances, family, that we’ve lost touch with nature. We try to take our sons out on walks and talk about what they see, but more often than not it’s a lesson in municipal infrastructure than nature. (Let’s face it, there are just a lot more garbage/recycling/police/fire/streetsweeper/mail trucks in the big city than opportunities to talk about the circle of life.)
We’re collecting stuff for a camping trip. It’s okay for us to live in a very urban setting as long as we also make time for the boys to know the world under the concrete under their feet. I’m working toward teaching the boys not just about how a city runs, but how the world works. We have an orange tree that will [hopefully] bloom this winter, and we’re planning some fruit picking adventures. I feel like if I can just get them in the woods near a stream, then I can ensure that part of my world will be transferred to them. Every once in a while it hits me how desperately I need them to connect with nature. This morning I saw pictures of the Yukon — it isn’t glamourous, but suddenly I remember how much I love that rugged, wild world.