We do! We really belong outside. I know people who would adamantly profess that, biologically and historically, we were literally designed to live outside. This would suggest that it affected, not only our biological makeup, but also our habits. How we ate, what physical abilities we would have, the way we problem solved, the way we played, the way we related to each other and to our surroundings. Everything would have been impacted by our environment. Much as it is today, being inside so much.
A year ago, our family returned from a sabbatical year where we traveled and lived as a family without the distraction of work. We went places we’d always wanted to go, and we focused on each other – mama, dada, big brother, and little brother. And when we were left to make choices about how we spent our time, it was often our choice to be outside. Eating, playing, sleeping, walking, making, doing. It happened outside. Part of the reason was because we had run away from winter and made sure to find ourselves in places during the sunny and warm times of year.
But in reflecting on our year sabbatical, and the year that just commenced immediately after, I am struck by the stark difference in time spent outdoors, regardless of our proximity to the equator (these days we’re pretty far away from it). We’ve always made big efforts to spend time outdoors – every day. But until just a few days ago, it has felt like a chore. Something we had to do so that our children didn’t destroy our (Baba’s) house. This winter was cold, and wet, and snowy, and dark, and dreary, and (though I tell others to be optimistic) down right miserable. I had never thought of myself as a fair-weather gal, but being spoiled by the eternal summer (jumping the equator when necessary) the past five years, I have become a self-proclaimed weather ninny. This winter, I seriously began to think I had chosen the wrong place to call home, and wished the clock to move faster towards sunnier warmer weather.
And then? Spring arrived – almost as if over night – with its light, and flowers, and birds, and warmth. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still wearing my down jacket, but now it’s actually keeping me warm. And our boys? They seem more at peace in general. Not cooped up like wild beasties. We’ve flung open the back door and let the out back in.
I may look back on our equator jumping days fondly – never having need of a down jacket, and only ever feeling warm rain – but the welcome to spring this year has been more joyous and invigorating than I can recall a change of seasons being in a long time. And for that, I am grateful.