A long long time ago two young pups graduated from college and moved to the northwoods.
They raised their family in the forest, twelve miles from the nearest town. Their children went to one of the last remaining two-room elementary schools in Michigan.
The kids grew up helping fill the woodroom. (OK, Kiah–you’ve made up for your childhood reluctance for this chore after you’ve become an adult!)
They played for hours in the woods.
Big brother (almost four years older than his little sister) showed his sister everything he knew. He made forts for her. They played “Blind Dog” together. One of them blindfolded the other and led them around by their hand. When they reached the “special” spot…the blindfolded one was supposed to guess their location. (OK, kids, correct me if I’m wrong! I have never played the game yet. Although if surgery hadn’t happened this Christmas, there was quite a bit of pressure to experience the game once and for all.)
The children stumbled in the house at night, exhausted, covered with dirt and happy smiles.
They never ventured far from the house. Mama and Daddy could see their forts within spotting distance. Until Christopher reached age twelve. Then he built a fort beyond parental eyes.
I have never read the book “Last Child in the Woods.”
The book, by Richard Louv, apparently discusses the modern disconnect between children and nature.
I think about the freedom and beauty of our children playing in the woods, and…excuse me, dear reader…suddenly feel nostalgic and missing those long-ago times.
Both of our children live in Big Cities now. One rests his head in San Diego and the other in New York City. Chris likes nothing better than to hike and ski in nature out in California. His voice gets so excited when he describes his next adventure out in the wilderness or on the slopes.
Kiah has expressed how much she misses the trees, the woods, the lake, the earth, the acknowledgment of the seasons. She called to share about the bird on her fire escape last week. Her voice lilted with happiness. A bird in the city!
I wonder, sometimes, whether the two children of the forest will find their way back to living in nature. Whether they will choose city or woods or something in between. I am glad they are living in the city now–it’s where they need to be.
Yet I wonder. Will nature call them back to her bosom? Will nature sing them back to the trees and forests and lakes?