Monday, September 24, 2007

On playing outside

Hannah requested we go outside today. I don't really remember the last time she asked.

It's funny. Of late, I have not thought of myself as a particularly outdoorsy person. In the past year (or two!), we have done more tv watching than I care to admit. As we were playing outside today, I was thinking of all the things my siblings and I did outside as kids. When I was really young and we were living in California, we would spend hours outside - chasing chickens around the backyard, working in the garden, digging "streams" with the hose, riding bikes on the patio...the possibilities seemed endless. When we moved to Colorado we lived for a year out here in the forest before moving into town. We had an "Indian Camp" complete with teepees made out of small fallen trees and old sheets. We also built a stage by nailing boards between two trees and throwing sheets over it for curtains. We would take our old red wagon and give each other "tours" around the five acres. When we did move to town, I would spend hours in my garden.

So, not only have I been missing the outside, I've been missing my own creativity!

When I got pregnant with Hannah and then had to recover from the c-section, it changed the way I related to the outside. Suddenly everything seemed uncomfortable and full of germs. Even the way I moved seemed to change. Does anybody else relate to this? I became an old lady! :)

Add to all of this a dumb fear I have always had of looking silly or undignified, and you have a recipe for someone who does not spend much time outside. I think one of the most profound things on TV is Bert and Ernie. They have this one episode in which Ernie is talking to an elephant on a banana. He encourages Bert to try it. It goes something like this:

B: I don't want to. I'll look silly.
E: Silly's fun, Bert!
B: I'm not really good at that kind of thing.
E: Just try it.

I can relate. When did I become so self-conscious?

But today, we just went outside and we played. I taught Hannah to catch a ball (well, I taught her to hold her hands and arms close together so I could strategically drop the ball in her arms. Ya gotta start somewhere!). I gathered up some of the millions of pine cones and threw them toward one area so we can actually mow, and the girls can walk without tripping. Hannah picked at the bark on a tree - the first time she's ever seen that. Audrey looked at pine needles. We discovered a feather on the ground. I showed Hannah how to blow a dandelion puff. We picked wildflowers. We enjoyed the clouds and sunshine.

And I gotta say, this beats being a grownup any day. I'm never going back.


  1. My son is a total outdoor kid, he begs to go outside daily. I am not an outdoor kid and hate being dirty and I hate bugs. I try to suck it up and go out there for him--but there are days when I just can't do it. We blow bubbles outside a lot and play in the water table--but beyond that, you can count me out.

  2. Sara,
    Remember when you guys lived in the Yorba Linda house and I would come over after church on Sunday afternoons and we would play outside for hours? Awww, those were the days!

  3. Christina - OK, but you're missing out! :)

    Elizabeth - Boy, do I remember those days. We came up with all kinds of stuff to do, didn't we?

  4. I love being silly with my boys, even in public. Sometimes people look at me funny as I narrate our grocery shopping experience to the boys, and smile back at Elliot laughing at me, but I think they really like it.
    We try to get outside everyday, at least for a walk. It makes the day more enjoyable.
    Thanks for sharing and for venturing closer to the emotional security of childhood - as God wants us, right?

  5. Wow, that's awesome Sara! I had a similiar experiance as a child-being outside all the time! Dawson and I have been trying to spend time outside every day lately-taking walks around the neighborhood, picking flowers and leaves and pine cones etc. It's fun isn't it! I can't wait till he's older and can hopefully enjoy all the stuff I enjoyed as a kid.

  6. Marianne - I wish it was easy to stay as innocent and carefree as we were in childhood... It's a struggle for me sometimes, but one worth fighting for sure!

    Liz - I think we would have had a blast together as kids. It's so fun to meet someone with similar memories of being a kid. :)

  7. Sara Kay,

    Thank you for sharing this little piece of innocence with all of us. Imagining your daughter picking at a piece of tree bark is marvelous. I hope you get to see the great outdoors through the fresh eyes of your children. It is truly a wonder that God has created for our enjoyment.