Once upon a time I dug up snails, collected tadpoles, played in the dirt, climbed trees, and once had a ball searching though an abandoned house. When I became a woman, replete with car and license, I was handed the odd notion that if I walked outside, I’d better be careful – especially at night – a girl had to be on guard you know. And, over the years I learned of all the things that can go awry outside like poison ivy, how dirt around an old house can contain lead, the need for cleanliness, etc. Then one day I began to question some of this.

It started by a desire I had to walk outside at in the dark, by myself. And, one night, heart pounding I walked around the block – hurried along actually and … lived! Sounds silly, I know.

A couple of years ago, I started my tree project – I think of it as a project management system. I’ve loved doing it.

For years, I’d always covered up, because I’d been told to protect myself from the light – and I’m not saying it isn’t good advice, but perhaps we can take that advice too far. One day in the not too distant past, I decided it was important to get some sun, and began going out with sunscreen on the parts of my body that had been exposed more often to sun, but allowing the sunlight on some other parts that rarely saw the light of day – like my legs – for a small amount of time. And, instead of always being under sunglasses, I decided it might be interesting to expose my eyes for very short periods to natural light.

Last month, I had the opportunity to spend some time with a little girl – about one and half years old or so. We went outside – she showed me the bugs, laughed at a moth, ran in the grass. She was fearless. I followed, she led.

Now, I have this book to play with, The Goodness of Rain ~ Developing an Ecological Identity in Young Children, by Ann Pelo. I think Mother Earth smiles when we play and Father Sky approves too. I’m looking forward to the next 29 days – here’s my challenge:

  • Walk everyday in community with Mother Earth and Father Sky – in awareness – in my neighborhood … at least outside somewhere.
  • Write about the experience.
  • Read 6 pages my new book.

Observations from my journal – Day 1

  • I followed a tiny moth-like creature that flitted from grass to grass up and into a neighbor’s lawn. Conscious of my neighbor’s property and that I was an intruder, I noticed that when I moved, the moth moved and no matter how stealthy I was, it wouldn’t let me get too close. Eventually it crawled under a leaf to get away. I wondered if we were playing, or if it thought I was a predator. And then a bug followed me … and followed me … and followed me – I kept swishing it away.
  • I saw and heard a small dog that was surrounded by an invisible fence. Then appearing on the scene was a huge bright white fence surrounding someone’s backyard – it stood out on this cloudy day as if it didn’t quite belong somehow. But of course it does belong. It’s pretty, but it seemed as though it was shouting today in all its whiteness.
  • There are many different trees in the neighborhood – trees I don’t know the names of. Perhaps I will name them, or will find out our human’s name for them. If I listen carefully will they tell me their names?
  • It didn’t rain, but there were refreshing rain drops that landed now and again.
  • I noticed how often grass and other little plants grew in the cracks of the road.

For the next thirty days I will lead with one foot after the other to explore what it will mean to be in community with nature, on the land upon which I live.

Enjoy the stories and have a playful day!

– Mary

P.S. While I will write every day, I think I’ll only blog once a week about this project – I’m not 100% sure of that. If “think” was pink, then “know” would be an orange and a”peeling”.

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