It was Saturday and my husband wanted to go to the gym. While I do enjoy the rubber and antibacterial smell of the gray cold gym, I would much rather get my exercise outside. I hate running, so I do other things. Today it was 35 F degrees, no wind, and light snow from last night clung to the trees. I turned to my kids, who would be forced into the “Fun Zone” which is really a daycare area with a jungle gym and other games, and asked them if they wanted to go to the gym or on a hike. My husband and two children went to the gym, giving me a rare chance to have one on one time with my middle child. We dressed warm, grabbed a snack (because kids need snacks constantly), and decided to take the dog.
Off to the park we went. This particular park is my favorite local adventure, it has a big lake and a nice trail that snakes along the water with towering pine trees overhead. As soon as we got out of the car I knew this was a great idea. The air was brisk but comfortable. There is something about being outside that radiates deep inside me, curing ailments, and sweeping out the trash. Feeling lighter, my problems try to pop into view but are easily dismissed. Bad memories from the week creep in, only to be defeated by an overwhelming feeling of freedom. Connecting with elements from nature is a necessity.
My garden is doing horrible, it’s been too wet and cold (read frozen) to do any prep work. I’m falling behind. That didn’t matter as I helped my daughter identify fox and Canadian geese footprints in the snow. My husband had his car towed accidentally (mistaken for another truck) and still had to pay to get it back. This didn’t matter as we crossed the icy bridge. Writer’s block is still bothering me, but this too wasn’t a bother when we saw the red-headed woodpecker and heard birds crowing around the tops of trees.
We walked about a mile and then returned. My four-year-old did great, and I let her know how proud I was for walking the dog and keeping up with me. Her smile is the cherry on top of a great adventure.
Come on winter, we’ve had enough. We want to be outside more. I hope my kids will always take the time to be outside with me, even when they get older and start to live their lives more independently from us. It’s such a great place to connect rather it be through words or walking in silence.