a visit to the 'butterfly house' (i can't believe this was only 8 months ago!)
I spent my childhood in an idyllic place, full of natural beauty and so safe that I was free to play with my friends in the stream behind our house until the skies went dark. We built forts, searched for tadpoles, collected tiny pieces of broken bottles and wedged them into an old stone wall so that it sparkled like magic, looked for fairy rings, and got into our fair share of mischief. I never considered myself an 'outdoorsy' kid; I wasn't athletic and preferred to draw and read, but I did have an appreciation for nature that was just part of how I grew up.
I often think about where we live now, this is where Little Smith is growing and will make his own memories, it's far more urban than my childhood home. I appreciate that we have such easy access to so many cultural institutions and events, that he is experiencing more diversity than I ever did, and I know he loves having exposure to subways and construction sites that only a city can provide. In my soul though, I'm a country girl, and I want my son to respect the natural world, to be immersed the way that I was.
So although we are in a city, I work hard to provide a life that includes lots of 'country air'. We spend days at our community garden (which also happens to be a large and beautiful preserve), we visit local farms at least once a week, we go for walks in the woods, and we even make frequent trips up to New Hampshire and Vermont and back to my home town in western Massachusetts.
He's still so young, but already Little Smith is at home outside. My mini naturalist, he can identify trees, has some killer bird calls, and is nutty for butterflies- specifically monarch butterflies. He jabbers away constantly about monarch caterpillars and bubberfies, and carries around his plastic versions like they're his babies. Last weekend as we worked in the garden, he ran free, chasing small white butterflies (or moths?) all afternoon. I think he's got a good dose of country in him, and it's a delight to help him discover it all.