I have a love affair with the natural world. I grew up in a small town in rural England. I was a child of the 1970’s & 80’s when we could walk to school by ourselves and play out freely until dark. I roamed rolling mud hills and large parks that have now mostly been replaced by parking lots and housing developments. When I moved to the city to study and work but I still looked for nature in clouds and puddles and even dug up a concrete patio to be transformed into a thriving vegetable garden. When I first arrived in Dominica, my paternal family homeland, I knew I had found home. I am a now a Child of the Nature Isle.
We are completely surrounded and embedded in the natural world. But even though rich views of the natural world stream in through our windows and the sounds of bird songs by day and crickets by night are an ongoing soundtrack, it is vital that we step outside and immerse ourselves in it. Our house may be filled with activities, games, fun and chores but the energy of 3 beings under one roof can get crazy – we were not meant to be contained inside for too long.
Being outside in nature is where we all come alive more fully, participating in the cosmic dance of life. We chase butterflies, dive into hot water pools, splash in the river, dig in sand, walk, shout and sing. Outside I am more focused in the present moment without distractions of the household where there is always just one more task to be done. I am more attentive to my children, able to embrace their wholeness whilst also expressing mine. We share aspects of the natural world with excitement and enthusiasm such as the sight of a rainbow, creaking bamboo, bird-song, the lush forest, old cocoa pods breaking down into soil. Seeing the world through the eyes of my children makes it all fresh and new.
The natural world environment puts us on more of an equal playing field – we are all exploring and experiencing our separate needs in togetherness. For instance my daughter likes details – plants whose seed pods go ‘pop’, little berries to pick, grass that looks like feathers and sensitive plants whose leaves close to the touch. As she seeks out these things, my son is enjoying ‘big movements’ such as throwing stones in puddles, hitting bushes with sticks and digging in the mud. I delight in feeling a warm breeze on my skin and the sun on my back, to get some exercise, dance among the trees, sing new songs and to communion with Source. In nature our unique threads and are woven together in a way that supports and nurtures all of us. In nature I feel fulfilled nurtured and cared for by the Great Mother. I am recharged to be a better parent. It’s a continual learning and appreciation that just doesn’t happen indoors.
In an article for the Mother magazine, Starr Meneely writes ‘Time spent outside gifts our children with experiences that cannot be easily reconstructed anywhere else. The first of these gifts is simple childhood happiness.’ And happy they are. Always reluctant to end their outdoor play, they too are children of the Nature Isle and for that I give thanks.
This post was originally written in 2012 for my blog Child of the Nature Isle. It still holds true today.