For all my talk of releasing children into nature, with nothing but pure imagination and the grass beneath their feet, I’m not one to take any time–as an adult–away from technology to just relax outside with no plan, no agenda. Is nature only good for the young? What would happen if I joined them?
How would I do it? Would I be barefoot? Would I look for frogs or collect random sticks?
Leaving the cell phone and the netbook behind, I placed myself under a tree in my front yard. The children played by instinct with the sort of freedom and abandon of fish finally released into water after nearly suffocating on land.
But for me, this environment of dirt, grass, pebble, and twig threatened to destroy my pedicure more than relax me.
But I stayed on, noticing the shade and breeze against my body. I settled into the earth, introducing myself by removing my shoes. I curled my toes around the grass and took a deep breath. A moment later, a single white garden spider crawled over my big toe, and two ants found my left arm: my welcoming committee.
I’d been incorporated.
I was in.
At one point, I opened a book and leaned back to read in the grass. Afternoon shadows grew long, and the wind was cool. The girls laughed and chased an enormous toad.
Their voices faded into the background of songbirds, the rustle of leaves above my head, and the hush of my own slow breath. What peace was this in my heart? What soothing balm?
Tomorrow, I’m telling my children to send their mom outside. She can’t come in until dinner.