The Great Outdoors

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to “get outdoors every day.”  We live in Minnesota where it’s winter 9 months of the year…  So that makes for a good challenge, right?

Being a stay-at-home-mom, that leaves a ton of time to fill at playgrounds, right?  Well…  Not always.  Between two kids with different nap schedules, meal times, pre-school, yada, yada, yada – some days it doesn’t happen until Daddy gets home in the afternoon.  Which is great for the kids.  Not so great for me.

At that point I have a couple of hours before dinner is served; clean-up begins; bath times commence; and the bedtime marathon is in full swing.

A couple of hours…  Do I nap?  Sit in a sun spot and read?  Start working on dinner or cleaning up the house?  Meditate?  Watch TV?  (Wait…  What’s “TV?”)

Nah….  I go for a walk every chance I get!  I started last fall, walking 3.5 miles every afternoon.  It began as a much-needed break from the kids (my husband laughs that it took having two toddlers before I willingly engaged in exercise!), but now it is “my time.”  I listen to podcasts and breathe.  I check out the songbirds, hawks, eagles, ducks, river otters, bunnies, frogs, turtles, etc.  I soak in the sun.  I enjoy the cool breeze.  I say ‘hello’ to the other walkers I see every day…

It only takes 45 minutes.  But it’s something.  And I love it.  It refreshes me for the evening ahead and allows me a few more hours of patience, smiling, and laughing with the kids.

It soothes a tired soul.  Nature does that, doesn’t it?

One of my summer goals, with the kids, is to explore a new nature area every week…  We did our first one yesterday.  A lovely center with hawks, an eagle, an owl, a bunny, turtles, and frogs in the visitor center.  Trails to walk.  A river overlook with a view of an eagle’s nest.  Wildflowers in bloom. A small creek…  Lovely.  (I only wish my three year old was more agreeable to short hikes!)

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Playgrounds are great.  Bikes are awesome.  Pools are fun.  But I have a hope that someday my kids will find a meandering walk in the great outdoors just as exciting.  Already, my little boy and I stop and name all the things we can hear when we’re outside.  (It’s a fun little game if you’ve never tried it!)  He notices smells in the air and can identify all kinds of things!  And both kids have amazing eye-sight, noticing the tiniest bugs and flowers…  So fun!

So, get outside!  Take a break.  Breathe in some fresh air.  Get the kids outside and noticing the world around them.  Move your bodies.  All will blessed for it…

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

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