“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
— Helen Adams Keller
We’ve moved to the woods and my brain is still adjusting to the fact that I will see creatures on a regular basis. It’s the assumed risk you take living out here. To us though, detaching from the earth is riskier than embracing it.
The neighbor dog “Sam” had a sleep over last night. By chance Joel and I happened to be sitting on the deck as he emerged from the woods where he usually jumped out and scared me out of my skin as I pushed children on swings. He couldn’t make it through our new fence. He tried hard. He dug a little. He thought about jumping. He is not a small dog. He couldn’t do it. Joel and I went and put the kids to bed and met back on the deck for a late dinner about an hour later and Sam the dog was on his twentieth trip around the perimeter of our fence trying to find a way to me (don’t worry I went and visited him). It made me feel good to know even with all his trying and knowledge of our house that he could not get in. And this morning, when I watched him chase a bear down my driveway, it made me feel even better (MAN…a BEAR CAN MOOOOOVVVEEE). We also had a coyote sighting this week. The fence is my friend.
Other indicators that we are becoming thoroughly ‘countrified’ include the following list. You might be spending too much time in the woods if (in the style of Foxworthy):
You dress up your kids to go to town in their dress shoes (but those are gum boots)
Your husband takes you to a fancy golf club for brunch BUT there is fencing on the roof of your sport utility (because you don’t want to have to drive to town TWICE in one day).
Post brunch, three-quarters of your family goes rolling down the hills of said golf course until they almost get hit by a golf ball.
Your husbands chainsaw is worth more than your vehicle.
You have a peaceful bubble bath post bedtime on mother’s day and hear four different kids of motors running outside your window. One of which is a snow mobile. No we don’t have any snow.
You are in Mexico and say to your cousin “You sure you aren’t going on a date? We can go on our own? You are seriously East Coast Contemporary and we are completely West Coast White Trash”
Anyways, We’re really noticed while hosting youth groups up here how urbanized and out of touch with nature the kids in our community are. Its sad and a bit scary. Why would you protect a wilderness that frightens you? Why would you fight for an environment that you don’t understand?
And so Personal Mission number 8 billion 72:
Make sure my children understand and love nature they way my parents taught me to.
Maybe I’m the only super nerd/hippie in the making, but then again, maybe I’m not. I made a nature journal for our family to keep track of the things we identify this year. I have a page for birds we identify, animals we see, plants we learn the names for, bugs we capture and look at. I thought other people might want to use it? I don’t know. If you do you can download it here.
Happy trails friends.
Books we like:
National Audobon Society Guides (many at the used book stores!)
A great resource from “A Holy Experience” Nature Resources (monthly teaching units)