Friday, June 15, 2007

Riding this Rock

Photo: my cousin Phil and me (in the not so distant past) perfecting our sandcastle skills on Fire Island.

I'm slowly making my way through a stack of books and still reading the wonderful Richard Louv book, "Last Child in the Woods". What makes this book so powerful to me is that it really sheds light on how different Satchel's world is from the one I grew up in. Even the very definition of nature as we know it is obscured by new technologies, i.e. grafting bacteria to microchips; and bioengineered animals (chimeras); and robots equipped with the brainstem of an eel.

When I was a kid, I climbed trees, rode horses and built sandcastles. I was a Girl Scout and camped out in tented platforms and rustic cabins where we cooked on fires, sang songs and told stories. Camping was camping nature. There was no karate camp, computer camp or modeling camp. My birthdays were celebrated with family and friends at home not at Chucky Cheese's. There was no Nintendo, but I was never bored, I made puppets.

I feel very passionate about what Louv has to say. I related to him immediately when in the first few chapters he explained that he felt it was his duty as a father to protect his children from the brutality of the world for as long as humanly possible. I, too, feel strongly about this...providing Satch with a foundation of beauty, truth and wonder while shielding him from negativity, commercialism, ugliness! I believe in the importance of understanding what you are eating and how it gets to the table so to be able to make informed choices. I also believe that a connection to nature is as important as oxygen and agree that today's kids do indeed seem distracted. I think it's because we have lost our balance. Don't get me wrong I LOVE technology! I love my customized google home page which brings me the latest headlines from "Art Forum", "Life Hacker", "Science Times", and "SCIAM" (not to mention some swell vegetarian recipes) so that I don't have to go looking for them. I love my personalized firefox location bar with drop-downs for my favorite haunts. I love one click navigation , RSS feeds, my mac, my digital camera, photoshop, and music downloads. These things save me time, make my world a little easier, and a whole lot of fun.

Still, I felt a great sense of pride when, during my Mom's visit, Satch wanted to pick a mint leaf...that he KNOWS the difference between a mint plant and a tomato plant. I think it's important to understand these things, to recognize the difference between a Wren and a Warbler, to figure out what species of insect I squashed in the kitchen. I think it's vital to know the world around me...I don't want to ride this rock unaware.

It is difficult to put this book down though it is taking me some time to read due to the confines of mamahood, but I feel like I have discovered another kindred spirit.

What I'm wondering is, how do we do it? How do we save our children from the clutches of Ronald McDonalds and Super Marios?

These were the thoughts that crossed my mind while Satch napped and a powerful storm rolled in. The sky grew so dark that my sun jars began to glow. A mixture of rain and hail pelted the windows and sky light. Satch slept through some of the loudest thunder I had ever heard. When the storm passed, steam rose from trail in a ghostly mist. The Cardinal couple returned to the feeder and I watched the male feed the female. (This is called mate feeding) The "monk",
standing sentinel in our garden, does not allow the birds to ground-feed. He chases them right out of the garden, especially the Blue Jays. It's the funniest thing to watch.

On that note, let me leave you with something beautiful (The music is J.S. Bach's Sarabande from Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: IV. Performed by Yoyo Ma). Have a good weekend, everyone!

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posted by Wendy at 5:56 AM


Blogger cloudscome said...

I read the Louv book last summer and it really resonated with me. I spent a lot of time outdoors as a kid too and I try to get my boys outside every day. I wish more of us did that. We are often the only ones outside in the neighborhood.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I have GOT to read that book! I totally agree with your post, in fact my entire blog is about simplifying our children's lives. So glad I found you!

9:41 PM  

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