Finding the green way to spend your morning
–Shawna Coronado, author of Gardening Nude
This morning, my youngest asked, “How about we go for a walk or bike ride before school?”
What a fantastic idea! In fact, we should all be getting our overcomputered, over-TV’d, overstressed kids (and selves) out the front door and into nature. Richard Louv, the author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin Books, 2008) is the person who originally coined the phrase nature-deficit disorder. His strong belief is that children who have not been exposed to nature can suffer all sorts of medical maladies, both physical and mental. I happen to agree, so when my daughter made the suggestion, I jumped at the chance.
We did take our walk/bike this morning, and it was awesome. But the truly hysterical part was my 7-year-old’s commentary while we were getting ready for the adventure.
“So, kiddo, why do you think we need to get out this morning?”
“Are you kidding, Mom? You are going to look like a new woman by the time we get back!” I’m sure she meant FEEL like a new woman, but still, I think about that for a moment. Hmmm. Wonder which woman I’ll be looking like when I return? Britney Spears, perhaps? Maybe Catherine Zeta-Jones? It’s far more likely that I’ll look like Jodie Foster – that’s who I get mistaken for all the time, anyway.
“You get your socks and shoes on while I go grab my watch.”
“Mom, which watch are you grabbing?” She continues to talk, walking six inches from my back end, as I head to the bedroom. “Did you know I won another foot in exercise club this week? It’s blue. But they ran out, so now we have to wait for more. Hey! Also – I caught all kinds of crickets yesterday out front. They sure know how to jump high. My birthday’s coming up, I can’t wait for our picnic. What kind of cake should you make, do you think?”
In the time she’s said all of this, we’ve walked from the front to the back to the front of the house again. I turn to her, interrupt and say, “Socks.”
“OH, YEAH – socks. I forgot.”
She dances off to her bedroom, meets me in the front hall and has socks on and a tiny, itty-bitty doll in her hand. “This is my little doll. I’ve named her Thumbelina ’cause just look at how tiny she is!” She says this with an itty-squeaky voice.
Once again, I interrupt and say, “Shoes.”
“OH, YEAH – shoes. I forgot.” She spins around in a circle, floating Thumbelina in front of her, and then scurries back, grabs her shoes and shoves her feet into them without untying the laces. This is a losing battle, and while she’s putting her feet in the shoes, I hear an unending stream of talking. She tells me about how many times around the elementary school is a mile, how far a cricket really jumps, why she prefers cinnamon on waffles instead of syrup, and why her hair is so very silky this morning (“…because that new conditioner works wonders”).
Now we are ready to go out into nature, breathe some air and get some EXERCISE! I walk and she rides. As we are going along, my daughter looks up at me and smiles perhaps the biggest smile I’ve ever seen – she is happy that we are together and enjoying nature together. Everything feels right with the world. This is the right thing to do with your morning.
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Shawna Lee Coronado is an author, a blogger, a locally syndicated newspaper columnist, a greening guru, and an environmental and health correspondent. Her goal is to inspire people to get off the couch and out into the world to make a difference! Her horticultural expertise motivates her to be outdoors experiencing a healthier lifestyle. To order Shawna’s book, Gardening Nude, go to www.thecasualgardener.com or visit her blog at www.gardeningnude.com.