By Beth Sullivan
While we watched the skies open on Thursday, you could almost hear the trees and shrubs sighing with relief. The heat and drought has taken a toll on many of the hardiest plants while outright killing more tender vegetation. Even deep-rooted trees have been showing signs of stress as their leaves have browned. It might be a premature fall. Mostly I have bid my gardens an early goodbye.
|Offering free, improved immunity.|
But in order to make the best of a rainy day, I worked on catch up, paperwork and reading. One article caught my eye (mostly it was the photo), and I felt the need to share the message.
Over the last couple of years, I am sure readers have picked up on not only my passion for being out-doors, but also my dedication to the idea that children are healthier in every way for their time spent outside in nature. Even from the earliest months, babies can be entranced by colors and textures, they feel the wind, they can hear the sounds. They can catch your enthusiasm. Early introduction to so much sensory input is stimulating, helps create new and wonderful pathways in the brain, all that serious science stuff. But mostly it lays the foundation for the Sense of Wonder as described by Rachel Carson. Wonder that cannot be concretely measured but we all know is there; we have felt it ourselves if we were so lucky to have parents that let us out and encouraged us to stay out. We have passed it to our children, and if we are blessed with grandchildren, we are now eager to share that wonderment.
|Group explorations make the best memories.|
|No princes to be had, but it doesn't hurt to try.|
The article I read today, in the Washington Post, was titled:
“More evidence that the key to allergy-free kids is giving them plenty of dirt - and cows”. article here
It seems like we are constantly hearing of the difficulty of raising children today with so many allergens lurking to sicken them.
|Rocks are free, can be sorted, rolled, stacked, lined up and put into pockets.|
But Cows? … who knew ? But I bet my parents and grandparents had an idea. We had unlimited freedom on the farms, access to dogs and cats, brooks and ponds, mud, and barns full of hay and cows! We ran through fields, and I am sure we brought in our share of manure, on bare feet even. The same wonderful stuff I still try and find, naturally, for my gardens. I do not have bad allergies!
|A quiet stream invites bare feet.|
So, while Avalonia Land Conservancy cannot actually offer preserves full of cows, might I suggest some good dirt? After Thursday’s rains, little streams will be begging for bare feet. It is still warm enough to wade in. A flowing trickle is best when there are little dams to be placed, leaves to be sailed. Mud and sticks and rocks are the best outside toys. We can offer plenty of little twigs on the ground and bits of moss to make fairy houses, small forts, bug enclosures. No Legos needed. There are many logs to be turned over, salamanders to find, worms and slugs to be experienced. Slime never hurt anyone.
|Children who are outside earlier, are healthier , get that Sense of Wonder and offer creative thanks. A gift from Flanders Elementary School First Graders, 2014|
Don’t be too quick to pull out the hand sanitizer. Think of all the nice microbes and healthy bacteria giving your child a Sense of Wonder along with a free, natural dose of an improved immunity!
|Such joy can be had outside so easily.|
Photographs by Beth Sullivan.