As you have seen by the mission statement behind this blog, I believe in the power of wilderness wonderment. Deep nature is unlike anything else, and it has the power to transform children into rambunctious little explorers. I cannot recommend the introduction of unkempt places enough. However, that being said, as a new mom to a tiny babe, deep wilderness expeditions are a bit out of reach at the moment, and so I turn to the nature that is a decidedly tamer, more local, and equally rewarding.
I’m lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest, a place that prides itself on natural gems spread out like tiny enticements all over its cities. Portland is a particularly wealthy urban jungle when it comes to the magnitude and magnificence of its parks. Forest Park, which is one of the country’s largest urban parks, has a forty-mile loop system that allows for new and diverse hikes every time you visit. There’s the abundance of designated natural areas around town as well as the meticulously curated Chinese and Japanese Gardens. Even our neighborhoods boast a wealth of huge trees and parking-strips-turned-vegetable-patches.
Getting a kid outside is easier than you think, and although there’s nothing quite like waking up in a tent, there is something equally beautiful about bundling up yourself and your little tyke on a frosty weekend morning and heading out the front door to investigate the dew glittering on your lawn. I will have further posts about the specific activities involved in these adventures, as they apply to both wilderness and weekend wanders: the cultivation of a nature table, or a location-specific scavenger hunt.
Just remember, the most important thing, is allowing yourself and your kid a little breathing room. Just because you feel trapped in the city or even trapped in the house, doesn’t mean you can’t take a couple hours to get to a park, or even ten minutes to investigate the falling leaves in your backyard. Children interacting with the outdoors in any capacity is a gift to them and to you. Take a breath momma, and go indulge in the fresh air.