Giving your child immunity against loneliness may be as simple as fostering within them a kinship with the natural world. A love of nature begun in childhood can last a lifetime.
It is astonishing how little one feels alone when one loves.
Some of my earliest memories are of playing with worms and doll furniture in my grandparents’ backyard. I could never understand why the worms didn’t survive the baths I’d give them. In the springtime, my younger sibings and I spent hours creating dams and controlled waterways with the water from melting snow that would stream in the lane next to our yard. After a long Canadian winter, seeing the sun sparkling on those streams of water gave me such a wonderful feeling. My mother and grandmother both scolded us for getting wet and muddy but it seemed like such a small price to pay for such happiness.
In the summer and fall, we went for picnics in the woods. We’d enjoy tomato sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper under a big spruce tree while my mom moulded faces in the spruce gum that ran on the tree trunks. The ‘devil faces’ would harden and we’d see them again the next time we picnicked there. So began the magical enchantment that’s always been a part of my love for trees.
Eventually my grandparents purchased the land where we picnicked most frequently. Old firefighting hoses were made into swings that my grandfather suspended from the large branches of white pines. My younger brothers would climb the trees but I was content to swing for hours, daydreaming and singing to myself.
In the summer we were out in the fields picking berries and flowers or catching grasshoppers and butterflies. I learned how to drive a tractor in those fields when I was about ten years old, as did my sisters and brothers. I also had my own little axe with which I was able to trim dead limbs off trees, an activity I still enjoy doing to this day.
In the winter we’d play in the snow, go sledding or skating at one of many outdoor rinks. There was always something to do outdoors, either together or on our own. My siblings and I all brought our love for nature with us into adulthood. Giving children the opportunity to be outdoors, as did my parents and grandparents, truly is a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Thanks to Gerry at Torch Lake Views for suggesting a post about memories of growing up outdoors