Time for the Outside
When I read Outside In, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Cindy Derby, I was reminded of all those times I have been outside with my little boy and yet not really there.
With its lyrical, strong voice, Outside In reminds us that humans are supposed to be connected intricately to nature but that somewhere along the way we forgot the connection. The great thing is, however, that nature will not forget us. And it will give us little messages - the shadows in our windows, the smells outside our windows, or the tiny snail on our kale - to remind us that it is always there.
In this post, I reflect on one of the best days outdoors I have had with my little boy in hopes that we can all make more time for the outside - for our children and for ourselves.
The other day we went on an adventure in a local park. We walked under a covered bridge built in the 1800s, and we saw mallard ducks swimming along in a stream.
There is really nothing better than watching my little guy crunch the snow under his boots and search for the perfect throwing rock, one that will make a grand splash!
I, too, picked up a rock and tried to make the biggest splash I could. I stopped to listen - to really listen - to the sounds of the water. There are few things as peaceful as listening to a flowing stream.
I lifted my head toward the trees when I heard a woodpecker. And what happened? I saw the woodpecker, with its beautiful red beak. And, in that moment, I reminded myself that this is the good stuff. These are the good moments. These are the moments that we all need more of.
The beauty of the moment was not just that he was enjoying being outside but that I gave myself permission to be totally immersed in this time for the outside as well.
And so I picked up one of the rocks that I could have thrown into that flowing stream, and I put it into my pocket and then on my desk at work, which is, of course, now at home. To remind myself of the beautiful day I had with my little boy at the stream. And to remind me to assess each project that I have at work in the context of that day at the stream with my little boy.
And so what is my recommendation to you? Pick up a copy of Outside In and use it as a conversation starter between you and the kids in your life but also an internal dialogue with yourself.
Who knows what might happen?
Maybe it will inspire you to get your boots on, splash around in the mud, feel the sunshine on your face, find the first spring bloom, and finally see that woodpecker!
Photo by Kathryn Caprino