Monday, October 7, 2013

A Walk in the Park, A Favorite Book & 1,000 Hours Outside

Sometimes when the stars align parenting can actually feel like a walk in the park.  Like the one I took {last month now} with my boys!

We have a new favorite book at our house; A Day With No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch. It was another one of those book "serendipity" moments at the library again. I found this one and it felt like it had been written for our family! It incorporates our drawing on walls habit, and my Andy Goldsworthy like obsession with making art in nature.

So one morning this past month as the vegetation all around us was waning on the cusp of summer, we decided to take a hike outdoors and spend our own day with no crayons.  Everything around us was still bright with summer greens and yellows, and the occasional blue and purple late blooming wildflower.  Just like Liza, the main character in the book - and Miles' new favorite person - we began to notice the colors we saw.  We took time to acknowledge each one and then gather a sample into our basket.  We found lime colored milkweed pods, weathered sticks, evergreen needles, grasses heavy with seed, and the ornamental tops of flowers whose petals had already fallen. 

As soon as we reached the lookout, and unloaded the basket, the boys got to work making it into a picture, "Just like Liza would!"

While I watched and let them work I found myself examining each element up close. Here is the milkweed seed pod contents - not quite mature - but so beautiful in its simple design.

It is always so amazing to watch the boys explore at their own pace. I found I wanted to stoop down and walk slowly - trying to imagine the world from their level where grasses still towered overhead; and then the sighting of a cricket sent us off and running in another direction! 

We know that it is such a blessing to live where we do, and have such easy access to an amazing expanse of the outdoors - literally at our doorstep.  Another component to the serendipity of this entry is that when I posted a picture of the boys playing on our woodpile as part of my {this moment} ritual, I received a comment from 1,000 Hours Outside. I was enamored with the fact that this amazing group stumbled upon my moment... and therefore my blog.

Many of you that know me realize that teaching children about the outdoors is my passion. On so many levels it is what I long to devote my every waking hour to - and I know that one day I will.  It has been a very long year - or two - with health issues, job changes, and the loss of dearly loved ones.  Slowly I am beginning to feel like myself again.  And just as slowly the realization has come to me, that I have the rest of my life to be a teacher to the children of others. Right now my greatest job is to care for my own little brood. I look forward to updating about all of the exciting things that will someday be; as I build this business plan and this seasonal curriculum in my heart. Each day it is growing inside me, with me constantly, and one day will be ready to be born into its own light.
But, I digress.

As I leaned more about this amazing 1000 hours outside group, and their effort to promote getting kids outside, I realized that I can find faith in the fact that there are other mamas out there, teaching their children the cycles and seasons of the outdoors too. I felt comfort knowing that because of their efforts there will in fact be other kids that can identify the sound of a Barred Owl, as opposed to the jingle for a cereal commercial, that my boys will be able to play with one day.  I felt so relieved when I found their site because I was reminded that there are still people that believe that nature can be a primary component of our daily lives.  And what's more - they don't just talk about getting outside - they go out and do it!  So - if you are so inclined look to their efforts and be inspired as I was. I think that rather than keep a tally of our hours, I will instead just continue to follow the lead of my own two little teachers. They do an amazing job of getting me outside, and helping me see the world from a fresh perspective as I watch them experience it!


  1. Sally! Somehow we missed last week! Thank you for the kind words, we are really honored that you found us and love being outside as much as we do! Ps. Be looking for an email from us :)

  2. Hi Sally, actually I don't see an email for you... Can you email us at We'd love to talk with you about guest posting on our site!