Friday, October 5, 2007

Of woods and water ... and fences.

I've recently been struggling quite a bit with desiring more of nature in Eli's everyday life. I took a retreat in the woods at the end of August out towards the lake and was really struck by how much I miss the woods and the water being so close all of the time. It's not fair to say that I didn't appreciate what I had growing up, because I certainly recognized the significance of growing up with a lake out the front door and the woods out the back. However, now that I live in the city, which I also love for so many different reasons, and now that I go to the woods or the water just to visit, I'm more and more aware of how much I need those things - of how much they shaped me and are a part of who I am. I want that for Eli - just as much as I want for him to learn to be comfortable with (without losing the appreciating for) diversity, and learn to be in relationship with neighbors when that means laughs shared over the fence and when it means that eight Italian Greyhounds are barking next door half the afternoon. I want for him all the things that the city has to offer him without giving up any of the things the city can't give him.

That's why family vacations and weekend getaways are so important to me. We recently took a vacation to the Smokey Mountains where we camped for a week with Eli. He loved it. In fact, I think he was disappointed to be back home because we weren't playing outside all day every day anymore. Eli learned just how many stones his Fisher Price dump truck could carry - and dump. He learned to throw stones in the river. He learned that the fuzz on fuzzy caterpillars pulls off fairly easily. He learned that some large beetles are squishy and some are not. And I hope he learned that his mom and dad love and respect the outdoors. Well, maybe that's a lot for 15 months, but at least we're starting at it.

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