Thanksgiving 2013: Infinite Gifts
Musing about this fall I am grateful for nature’s generosity in providing the backdrop and props for outings full of imagination and fun.
Ahead of me on a walk through the woods near my house last month my grandson, Colton, turned around and shouted, “Catch!” He had thrown me a buckeye. When I caught up with him, he was excitedly revering the smooth and shiny nuts, declaring twins when two fit into a single husk. To Colton, he was in an outdoor playroom, abundant in natural toys.
And then, just two days ago my eldest grandson Logan said, “Hey, Grandma, I brought you a present.” He handed me a bushy bouquet of fallen crimson-colored birch and magnolia leaves that he had collected at the playground. “Do you see how red they are?” he asked. And indeed they were deeply red, gorgeously so. The simple act filled me with joy.
Nature is endlessly giving us gifts. My gifts on these days were not only of sheer beauty and playfulness but also of pure delight in the fact that Colton, Logan, and my granddaughter Leah were attuned to the treasures of the natural world.
As sharp as the crisp cold morning air on my face, joy and meaning are all around. Just step outside! Open your eyes! Open your ears! Open your heart! Open your mouth and breathe deeply! It’s there. Let’s enjoy. Let’s cherish. Let’s be grateful. Let’s celebrate nature!
Temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter, and we’re wearing socks again!
Flocks of birds are visible each day flying overhead as they migrate their way to more suitable weather.
Leaves are beginning to change colors, fall from the trees, make crunching noises beneath each step and emanate a sweet smell that is native only to autumn.
This time of year always makes me think about where I am right now and where I’m heading.
And as usual, it makes me think about amusing ways to spend time outdoors with my family. Aside from our visits to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch, as well as an evening around a fire pit, my grandchildren will tell you the highlight of October and November has been our homemade scavenger hunt. Try hiding a few objects in your neighborhood park or in your yard and write clues about how to find them. Kids (and adults!) will delight in this fun way to spend time together outdoors.
So how are you spending your time outside these days?
For some truly inspiring ideas check out Nature Rocks!
Today’s national average screen time for American children is 7 hours. While I am a strong believer that technology can fuel a love of the outdoors, at this rate, there won’t be much time left for exploring or – dare I say – protecting and caring for the natural world.
This is yet another reason to get back to nature! The well-being of our planet depends on it. Our actions today have an impact on tomorrow, and not just here, but everywhere. I believe the seemingly random act of spending quality time in the outdoors causes a ripple effect of significant positive changes elsewhere.
Hopefully many of you visited the Indiana State Fair last month and enjoyed learning about the beautiful cows, the tallest sunflower, catch & release fishing, grains, vegetables, crop art and gardening.
There are so many ways to explore Indiana nature with children. Consider going on a creek stomp at Fort Harrison, or feeding the birds at the Indiana Dunes State Park, or admiring the full moon from your backyard or front stoop!
Check out the Indiana Department of Natural Resources 2013 Special Events List to plan fun family experiences in nature. I dare you to start making a difference for tomorrow just by spending time outside today!
It’s time to get back to nature!
Let’s face it. It just feels good when we’re in and around nature. Close your eyes and imagine walking on a beach, watching a sunset, feeling the breeze, listening to the song of birds, smelling plants and flowers, gazing at the starry night sky. Just thinking about it feels good.
If we all know that being in nature is good for us why do studies show that fewer people – adults and children – are spending less time outdoors?
What’s it going to take to get us to back to nature?
As a mom, I have countless memories of taking my children to state parks and nature preserves. Now as a grandmother, I take pride in leading my grandchildren outside. Going for a hike, a walk, a swim or just helping them climb a tree or plant a flower is a wonderful way to spend time together.
I see the joy in their faces, their curiosity in all the details. I see them use their imaginations, feel confident in the open spaces, run, marvel at the colors, the bugs, the creatures. The memories created in nature today will no doubt inspire our grandchildren to continue exploring and caring for the outdoors tomorrow.
So get back to nature and enjoy!November 22, 2013