Going “home” really brings out the nostalgia in me, a way to connect with our roots and look to what the future holds.
Growing up in the country, kids playing outdoors among the trees was not an endangered activity like it is today. The more nature, the more creative the play. Forts and tree houses.
I remember being alone in the horse pasture, sitting on the fence waiting for the school bus, dog by my side, horse muzzle resting on my shoulder, high grass tickling bare ankles, with trees protectively shading my pale skin. No one cared whether I was home for dinner or I ate my fill of wild strawberries before school.
I would delight in my butterfly exploration. You would think I would dream of being a conservationist. I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up, hence the previous post’s note of being a bio major. I was always very mechanically, mathematically, scientifically, and artistically inclined though. Early aptitude tests said – architect. So I went in that direction, but still liked “saving” all things living.
I find conservationists and environmentalists generally seem to have had a transcendent experience with nature when children, collecting crickets in their cuffs and mud on their feet. I myself had this experience, children being children.
I suppose we will always have these folks, but will they maintain that deep connection as time goes forward? Kids today are not typically outdoors in play as was the case a generation or two previous. You cannot love nature abstractly. It needs to be experienced and felt to have or build a nature-rich future.
If I asked you what would be your idealized future, what would be your answer? It certainly is not to live in a cocoon of you own existence would it? When we look to the future, I would hope to see nature-filled cities and towns, not some post-apocalyptic shell of what once was.
If kids are our future as the cliché says, parents are going to need to do their part to instill in children the wonder and excitement of nature. Nature is always fresh, new and beautiful as each season forges into change. I think our children need to see it. After all, we are going to need these kids one day, even if the kids don’t know it yet.