Originally published August 27, 2012
My family and I live in a city. You might be picturing a concrete jungle without much opportunity to connect with nature. Yet our neighbourhood is teeming with nature and my kids love it.
We live not far from the Humber River and spend many a lazy day sauntering along the path enjoying what nature has to offer. We have met deer, frogs, snakes, geese (always geese), chipmunks and squirrels. I think we may have even spooked a beaver by accident once.
On a particularly beautiful day, we went to a local park to do some climbing, sliding and swinging. At the edge of this park there is a path that leads down to the Humber River. Thinking our kids would rather play at the playground, we settled on a park bench to enjoy the sun and to watch them play.
With one circuit of the playground complete, the kids were begging to walk down the path to the river. (My thought: kids and nature go hand in hand. They have a real, close-to-the-earth kind of relationship with nature.) So, off we went. We saw some great stuff: a massive ants’ nest, flowers, geese (always geese), moss, trees that had fallen and vines that were growing over them. The kids were fascinated.
It was a fantastic day spent in nature. And we saw how many different ways that life takes over. It’s all so beautiful. The scents from the flowers, the leaves, the moss, the damp earth. Everything rises and falls and rises again in its time. It was a great reminder to capture the pressure moments we have while we’re having them.
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I shared the story above on the Time for Nature website as part of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s challenge to Canadians to incorporate nature into their summer vacation plans.
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, they have created this website where you can share your stories and photos of activities you have done that incorporated nature. There’s also an interactive map where you can pinpoint where you were when you enjoyed the great outdoors.
I stand behind any initiative that makes our earth a priority. I always have. But since having kids, I can’t help but be more into nature because of my children. In all the hussle and bussle of life, my kids still stop to watch an ant scurry across the sidewalk. They still run barefoot in the grass just because it feels good. They still want to hang out by the pond just to catch a glimpse of a graceful goose landing rather than play in a man-made playground. And it makes me appreciate this great planet that we live on. It slows me down and brings me back to the earth, so to speak.
And so, as we vacationed and hung out on days off this summer, I made sure that, whenever possible, it was in the great outdoors surrounded by all that this earth has to offer.