Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dirty Feet are Happy Feet

I think being outdoors has always been a part of my life. My infant and toddler years were spent in sunny San Diego.  Many of my early days found us at the beach. I am told that my parents turned the playpen upside down on top of me, creating a bit of a cage, protecting me from the sun and preventing what would have likely been frequent attempts at escape. I happily played in the sand while my bottle, wrapped in aluminum foil, sat warming on a rock near the fire.  
The remainder of my "growing up" years were spent in northern California. The mild climate afforded children the luxury of many blissful hours of outdoor play.  An extravagance that seems to be disappearing. Days were whiled away digging in the dirt, climbing trees, fences and rocks, catching bugs, skipping rope, and just enjoying the natural part of our corner of suburbia.  When the streetlights came on we begrudgingly dragged ourselves home, barefooted, bedraggled and begrimed, warranting the nightly admonition rarely needed nowadays to "wash your feet before bed."
As we got older the recreation became slightly more structured, but no less enjoyable.  The Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Mendocino and Redwood Forests became our playgrounds. Hiking, camping and fishing kept us busy all day and ensured an appetite sufficient for even the most burnt of Dad's offerings and a sound night's sleep.  Quality gear was either less available or less affordable back then, so we usually made do with what we could dig up at the Army Surplus store.  We lugged around huge metal canteens, slept in leaky canvass tents and stopped frequently to patch blisters caused by salvaging last year's tennis shoes for hiking.  Yards of medical tape and moleskin were expended and provided a patchwork of stories on our feet to tell of our adventures.  I had the privilege of connecting to the earth and to myself through my natural surroundings at an early age. It was natural that I would do my best to pass that along to my children.
Hunky Hubby and I have to work more diligently than our parents ever had to to ensure that our children are raised with adequate time in the sun. The draw of technology, no matter how we limit it, is strong.  Schoolwork demands more of their home time than ours ever did. I do know that the best model is Mom and Dad.  We have to get out there with them.  Not too hard. So the dishes and the vacuuming go undone sometimes.  So what?  I'm busy raising kids!
Quote of the Day: "You must love the crust of the earth on which you dwell more than the sweet crust of any bread or cake; you must be able to extract nutriment out of a sand heap."
--Henry David Thoreau author, poet, naturalist


  1. I'm so glad that the weather is finally getting nice. My mom always says that she thinks it would have been fun to be an Indian woman. She loves being outside and she thinks that a teepee would be easy to keep clean inside.

    I'm glad to see my kids outside instead of sitting in front of the T.V.

    You guys are always so good at getting out and doing something.

  2. Just as your weather gets nice, ours gets nasty. We are at 99 today and should top 100 tomorrow. Jsut as you all go out doors, we run for cover--or the nearest swimming pool. :-)

    Loved your post. I always have dirty feet. I hate to wear shoes. And good for you for being spontaneous and putting the dishes aside in search of adventure. That is a choice you will never regret.

  3. Thanks so much for your comments on my blog. I always appreciate them.