I love nature.
But we live in suburbia.
That’s no excuse though. We live in a gorgeous city bathed most days out of the year with sunshine and blue skies. Beaches are just a short drive away. Hiking trails abound. San Diego is all about life outdoors.
But I am lazy. The idea of loading up the kids, thinking ahead enough to pack snacks and prepare the diaper bag, and get back in time for a valiant effort at naptime — well, it gives me a bit of a headache. I’m just not that organized. There’s no weekly plan. No meal plan. Occasionally I muster enough oomph in me to plan everything the night before. But most days, I am piecing the day together a couple hours at a time.
For those spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of days, this is how I sneak a little extra nature and exploration into our suburban humdrum life:
The Suburban Treasure Hunt.
(As in, I drag the kids outside and we scour the neighborhood for random junk.)
I grab a container for each kid. I convince them it’s their very own treasure chest. I then announce in a hushed voice that we are going on a treasure hunt. Their eyes widen. Where, they ask with anticipation. I point at our doorway and say there’s a land full of treasure right outside. Momo, being all-knowing at the tender age of 3, looks at me with some skepticism. Tigerlily just wants to get out of the house and has her shoes on backwards. She also seems to always have a poopy diaper right when we’re just about to leave.
We eventually get out the door. Somehow, as we step into the sun and onto the sidewalk, I’ve convinced all three of us that we will indeed find treasure.
Along the way, we realize a few things:
There is a lot of concrete in suburbia. A lot.
Walking blindly makes things more interesting. Maybe I should get her a hat that fits.
Community service can be incorporated into nature walks. Here, the kids help clean out the berries from under a neighbor’s bush.
But the most important lesson of all:
There really is beauty in even the ordinary things.
Huh. Imagine that.
Ordinary beauty. Things that escape notice. Familiar things that appear commonplace… until you gaze closer and really look. Seek. Find.
Even the ordinary act of a 15 minute stroll around the block together.
We’re as ordinary as you get. And that is quite wonderful.