Up in the air and over the top of the tree til I can see so far. ~Mary Alice, age 5
Play in the Everyday: Natural Habits
Each day I take a nature walk. Going back to the same place again and again may seem boring to some. For me, it is a reflective practice that helps me deepen my relationship with the natural world and the place I call home.
Daily Nature Walks
There is nothing usual about my daily walks. I walk for miles some days. Other days I walk with Lila, now almost 10-months-old and we stop to sniff and take in the smells all around us.
Right now there is a great deal of pollen in the air. Living in the Northwest we have a good bit of rain or we have overcast skies so musty and damp are common smells to whiff.
I frequently see quail and deer and a variety or roaming dogs and cats. Lila is always eager to play with all of the friends she sees on our walks together whether four-legged, winged, or two-legged but they are not always so eager to play with her!
When I look up and out I see mountains and water just about at every turn. What I see changes quickly. There is nothing static about our relationship. Mountain, Water, Tree, Four-Legged, Winged Ones, and many others along the way converse with me and I listen. I don’t always hear or I don’t know their language–I am always eager to hear what they have to say. I know very little in comparison to what Nature knows and can share with me at every turn.
Its Really Good For Me
There are days when I am involved with writing or have something else to do–
once I am out the door
there is no going back, movement takes over and I’m totally in! realizing just how much I en-joy each and every moment of my walks. I’m re-energized when I return to my writing or whatever I was involved in before leaving home. AND I haven’t missed out on all the wonder and awe I experience as I walk–create deepening, soulful relationships with place and the natural world.
Sometimes I see evidence of broken relationships with nature. Trees cut down, garbage haphazardly thrown on the side of the road and scattered in fields. Animals mistreated. When I witness brokenness of this sort I remember,
Since we are inclined to care and protect who and what we love, ‘falling in love’ with the natural world…is a key ingredient for creating a peaceful, healthy and just world…it’s critical to find those places that stir our awe and wonder. ~Zoe Weil, Institute for Humane Education President
Playing Outdoors is a Priority
It is now my playful habit to walk daily. Often I take my camera along. Being the photographer places me in the position of witness and recorder.
Sometimes I take a small notebook with me or carry along a portable watercolor kit so I can paint. You might see me recording some of my thoughts as an audio file or creating a small video to share. Talking with another walker or stopping to share a treat with one of the dogs or horses along the way.
Some ‘play notes’ from my journal:
I don’t feel as safe here as I use to
I’m out of breath. Can I outlast them? Outrun them?
Oh, I can move past that obstacle easily
I’m all for greater play-diversity in my habit-[at].
Want to create some new playful habits of your own?
THE PLAYFUL JOURNEY RETREAT is a half-day gathering that can be accessed by phone from wherever you are.The Playful…