Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bringing' Greene Back from the Wild West

Longtime, no Greene!

How do blog divas go on vacation -- do they hang a "Gone Fishin'" sign on their blog front door?* I wasn't sure, so I went for the less-is-more approach and completely abandoned the Greenedom for almost two weeks while I was in Montana and Wyoming. Totally unprofessional, I know, to take leave of the post I only so recently came to occupy. Still, my big old-fashioned adventure provided lots of blogalicious ideas, which I shall share with you toute suite.

Vacation-Inspired-Blogalicious Idea #1: 
Being Outdoors is Good For Children and Other Living Things

Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods describes what he terms "Nature Deficit Disorder." It fairly well horrified me with its descriptions of the how kids these days have very little unstructured playtime, and even less exposure to untamed nature. According to Louv, we have scheduled them within an inch of their imaginations, and some suburban housing developments even have rules that kids can't climb the trees!

Louv's thesis made me feel fortunate to have grown up getting muddy and stringy-haired in the garden, rubbing elbows (from my playpen) with our dairy goats (named for Richard Scary characters), and spending seemingly endless hours at the Rock Fort with Maria T in the woods near my house. (We were shocked and somewhat dismayed when our fort was dismantled and the huge stones repurposed in my mother's herb garden. Being in our late 20s by then, we tried to keep a stiff upper lip.)

Recently I had the pleasure of watching my niece and nephews (ages 10, 7, and 4), spend four days completely engaged in self-guided outdoor adventuring. At first, when we arrived at our mountainside cabin on a lake 20 miles from the nearest gas station or grocery store, they were excited to see a Nintendo system, and looked forward to hooking it up. (Nothing wrong with video games -- I hear they help with hand-eye coordination!) But, these are kids raised on visits to the Bison Range and trips into the mountains "looking for bear tracks."

Soon, tech-free interest captured their attention and didn't let go until the final frog had been caught, escaped, was caught again, and, finally, allowed to disappear into the muddy banks of his watery home. It was the Call of the Wild, in the form of bugs, muck, and freezing cold water, so tempting, yet so intimidatingly icy. If that weren't enough, Mother Nature spoiled us rotten one evening with a barrage of melon-ball-sized hail stones hammering down on our metal roof as we squealed with surprise and amazement. Someone, pinch us, please!

I am glad to report that, somewhere in western Montana, three precious children are being raised to know and love the woods, and handful of adults are refreshed by their own adventures in "the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong."

*Ah-ha! Turns out, the Blogger Vacation Aid is called "scheduling posts," and it is apparently quite a handy little device. Next time...


  1. I'm so glad you're back!!!! I've always wanted to go to Montana and Wyoming!!

  2. Courtney! What was that?! Rain? Snow?

    Love ya!