A week before we moved out of our apartment, the complex came through and tore down all of the trees in front of the buildings. Ash trees with parasites. Anyway, this happened during nap time, and just outside my daughter’s window were three trees to be cut down. I bolted up the stairs after the roaring chainsaws came over her monitor. My trees gone she cried when I opened the door. A big tear trickled down her cheek. I held her and told her those trees were sad. I said that pretty soon she’d have more trees than she could count, more than we could name. This satisfied her.
For our first nature walk we planned a trek of the whole property, corner to corner and across the creek. She’d been eager to go see her trees so as soon as they were both up from their afternoon nap, we bundled them up and headed out the back door, down a paver path.
She loved the wind in her face, the chorus of crunchy leaves overhead, the grove of pines. What she didn’t expect were the sounds and sensations of sticks under her feet. She froze midstep as she felt a twig snap under her foot and gave a pout. Is tree sad? she asked. I took her hand to guide her but she wouldn’t move her foot. Until we got to the next clearing she insisted that I carry her.
I thought I’d exposed the kids to nature quite a bit before we moved here so I admit this event was deflating. We went to the zoo almost every week and I loved to take them in the stroller down a popular bike trail that snakes around the Olentangy River. They’ve always enjoyed going to the park and aquarium.
I guess that, until now, they SAW nature plenty but hadn’t EXPERIENCED it so much.