I woke early and excited. The sun filtering between the curtains of my childhood room beckoned me. May. It was May. And I had the whole day to play, no school, no obligations.
As soon as I got breakfast down, I headed for the woods. I shed my shoes the minute I could be sure my mother wouldn’t see me. My toes spread over pine needles warm from the sun, even though the earth below them still spoke of winter’s recently departed chill.
I bent to inspect delicate little flowers as I wandered between tall and narrow pines. Eventually I found the perfect location – ideal for my new fort. I dragged large fallen branches to the place and leaned them against a tree, propping the end of each branch up securely. Between this “foundation,” I constructed walls of smaller branches and leaves.
Finally, exuberant and exhausted, I crawled through the “door” and lay on my back, looking up as pine bows swayed overhead. My little body became still, melting towards the earth and I listened to the gentle whoosh the wind made as it moved needles far, far above.
At dinner that day, I was dirty, tired and filled with a sense of magic.
I want my daughter to know days like that spring day I knew, years ago. May she feel the wealth offered by the world just as it is, as it naturally occurs without human interference. May she feel the strength of her body responding with delight to the growing warmth each spring. May she look at each fresh new day as an opportunity, to be filled with wanderings of body and imagination. May she love the world deeply so that when the time comes to learn that the natural world, as we know it, is the latest item on the list of endangered species, she is inspired to act by love and not fear.