Tonight Grammy, Monkey and I were driving home from my Great Aunt's place (gave Monkey a bath since neither we nor my parents have a tub on the island and it wasn't warm enough for the big plastic storage container on the deck like we did last year). I asked my mom if my dad had seen the owl at all this year. Last year he used to see it on this one stretch of road up on the power lines around dusk. I was lucky enough to see it a few times too. The owl would perch up there and stare intently into the grass, searching for dinner. She said he hadn't seen it yet and was bummed. I was hoping to see it this year to share it with Monkey (although many times I'm excited about something like that and he could care less!)
Not a minute later the owl flew across the road and perched on the wire. If only I'd had my camera! I pulled a uey (or yewy in Aussie English) and stopped in the road so Monkey could see it. He totally lit up when he saw it. I was so happy the owl graced us with it's presence. It made me very glad we are spending time out on the island where Monkey can see deer (even though they're trying to eat my parents' apples & tomatoes), find crabs, search the water for fish, poke at pile worms, stick his finger in squirting clam holes, and throw rocks into the water all day long if he wants to.
Last year I attended a lecture by Richard Louv (author of "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder") and it really got me thinking about how we really close our kids off from nature so much more than in prior generations. One telling moment during the talk was when he asked how many people had a personal connection to a farm when they were growing up (the audience was skewed a bit older than me) and so many people raised their hands. I raised my hand because my great grandparents and grandparents lived across the street from each other on Vashon and both had farms. Who knew how lucky I was back in the day? Then he asked how many thought their children would have a personal connection to a farm. Not even a quarter of the original hands were raised. I didn't raise my hand as my great grandparents and grandparents have passed on and their land was sold many years ago.
I also remember many hours spent riding my bike with a friend up and down Burke Gilman trail and making "camps" in the hollows on the side of it. We got flashed a few times (too many times!) and I can't imagine letting Monkey off on his own like that now. I will have to work hard to make sure Monkey gets his time to explore in nature in the future (sans intruding adults molding play) and will really have to work on not being afraid!
If you have any thoughts or ideas on this subject--please comment! P.S. the book is interesting but I've had a hard time getting through it so I sadly have not read the whole thing. Other books call to me so it sits on my bedside table scolding me from time to time.