Nov. 3 Word Count: 8,893

I wrote another thousand words last night while the family ate dinner. And some after the kids went to bed. Last night, I slept terribly so I couldn’t force myself up at 5:30 to do more writing. But my husband was off today, so he handled the baby while I knocked out 2,000 more words.

I’d love to get another 1,100 done by the time I go to bed, but I’m already burning out, and it’s only been three days. Crossing that 10,000 word mark might give me a boost of energy, though.

Right now I’m reading Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. It’s kind of dull, but the information is compelling. It’s about how instead of playing out in open fields, our kids spend hours in front of the computer/TV, in organized sports, in piano lessons or other enrichment activities, or doing homework. Some of Louv’s theories are really interesting. He claims that kids in organized sports end up doing less exercise than kids allowed to simply roam in nature. (I have no personal knowledge of this because my kids aren’t currently involved in organized sports.) It links nature-deprivation to children’s inability to concentrate and keep their behavior in check. It claims that playground equipment, which is built in such a fashion to reduce liability, greatly limits kids’ range of motion. There’s also a sizable section on nature as therapy for ADHD.

I’m beginning to better appreciate our suburban neighborhood. Our house backs up to woods. It’s bordered on one side by a stream. In front, across the street, is a small pond. When you look out any window of my house, you see mature trees, wild growth, or water. And though I’ve never considered myself much of an outdoors person, I do know that when I sit at my kitchen table, or in the office, or living room, and I can see the mature trees framing the windows, the bluejays and cardinals racing between tree trunks, the deer crossing carefully in front of our street, I feel a sense of calm come over me. When the kids were younger and not in school all day, I had the time to drive somewhere to get to nature. But now that our time during the week (outside of school) is so short, I’m glad we have some of it right here, surrounding us, where we can step into it any time of day, for hours at a time.

I used to think I would be very happy living in an urban environment. Now, I’m not so sure.


3 thoughts on “Nov. 3 Word Count: 8,893

  1. I’ve never liked urban environments. The best year in my childhood (8-13) were spent in a rural area and I hated with a vengeance the weeks we had to spend at my grandma’s apartment in the big city. I don’t go hiking or camping with the boys as I’d like to. We do go to the Arboretum and Longwood on a regular basis, but that’s not the same as being exposed to more “wild” nature.

    I enjoy the suburban neighborhood we live in now and we have several mature trees in our yard, but I think I’d enjoy even more living even closer to nature…

  2. You’d be fine living in a city. Most of them have outdoor areas (Central Park, Fairmount Park, etc.) which I know you well enough to know you’d use. But the big thing is convenience with small children. The schlepping of the stroller alone can kill your spirit in a city. But there are such wonderful things to do/see/experience in a city that I think you’d be fine.
    Because of election day, schools were off today. I had some fun (and some truly dull) plans for the afternoon and I scotched them all when I saw the neighborhood kids were all playing in a humongous leaf pile. When my kids joined, there were nine of them, jumping in the pile, covering each other up, re-raking, breaking to play ghost in the graveyard (in full daylight) and I thought: if this isn’t what you move to the suburbs for, I don’t know what is. The plurality of the kids on the street, hanging out and playing with minimal parental input or direction, in sunshine and fresh air…bliss. Screw the errands. I just raked my own piles and made sure to at least catch a glimpse of my own kids’ jackets every few minutes as they cruised around.

  3. We had the exact same Sunday — a slew of neighborhood kids raking leaf piles and jumping in. Even my 19-month old played largely without us standing right by her. She was picked up and carted around other kids’ hips and then dumped back in the leaves.

    But I do treasure being able to look out a window in my pjs and watch the sunlight go brighter through the fall foliage. I can’t imaging looking out a window to see another building.

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