Monday, November 19, 2007

Into the woods

Several months ago, I ranted about how American children don't spend enough time enjoying nature. Richard Louv's book, The Last Child in the Woods has inspired my agency to create an initiative called "No Child Left Inside" geared towards getting kids back into the woods, back to nature. More nature-oriented programs are brought to schools, classes are specifically invited to visit state parks, and teachers are encouraged to recognize the need for unscheduled play outside.

It dawned on me today as I was stomping around a particularly pristine patch of Missouri's oak-hickory woodlands that American children are not the only ones suffering from a nature deficiency. I've been in a really bad place lately, extremely tense about moving, change, my new job. I spend time in the woods almost everyday. The woods across the road are rich, thick woods, but they're sick. They're not as biodiverse as they should be and I know it. I hiked around some of Missouri's healthiest ecosystems today, flipping rocks looking for salamanders, collecting acorns and hickory nuts, going way off the beaten trail. About 30 minutes into my afternoon, I felt lighter. An hour passes, and I feel all the tension of the past few weeks drop to my sides, left alone in the leaf litter.

It makes me wonder tonight if American adults had easy access to 5,000 uninterrupted acres of woods, would the country be a better place? Would everyone be so tense? So angry? So hateful? Now, if some evil drug manufacturer could encapsulate the freedom of walking through healthy woods in an antidepressant, we probably wouldn't even be at war anymore.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

amen, sister... preach it!!