Lately, it has just been Ginger and I. I am on holidays at the moment and Jason has been working, either at his new job or around the house, preparing spaces for our renovation. I have been slow with first trimester fatigue, but she has been bold: like two year olds often are. Today, we packed a rug, art materials and a few books and headed to a park with wide open spaces. I have been spending a lot of time close to home lately at familiar parks and am feeling this warmth drawing me out of myself again. I am craving nature as the heavy fog slowly lifts from around me this spring.
Ginger did not spend long on this rug with me today – she drew ‘a black sky’ with ominous clouds before taking herself off to explore her surroundings – hiding behind trees, finding flowers, poking things with sticks and chasing butterflies. She found a leaf suspended in mid-air (in truth, dangling from a spider web) and tried in vain to catch it in the breeze. We sat by a lake and explored a small stream – her little feet sinking into muddy creek beds. She threw mud, lifted big rocks, and sent ‘leaf boats’ off down the meandering brook. Yes, she got wet. Yes, she got muddy. No, she did not want to leave, even as her eyes grew weary and her little body wanted cuddles.
I have been seeking out these spaces for our adventures lately. They remind me of the bush where I was fortunate enough to spend time as a child. Wild spaces, unstructured places, filled with all manner of possibilities. There is nothing that a playground has that can compare to the calm that comes from spending time in nature. I still find myself reticent, however, protective of this child of mine, who still seems so small in comparison to the great outdoors. I must remember to trust her, and to trust nature, as my parents trusted me in turn. You want to climb down that ridge to the creek? Sure! You want to carry that stick bigger than you are? Why not? You’ll learn your limits and your capabilities, create strong muscles and a strong mind. These wild places are more enticing than any activity – more real and challenging than anything structured.
May you take solace in the natural world around you, my little one. May you seek its calm when all seems stormy. Here’s to a lot more nature play this springtime!