I have always enjoyed the outdoors, since I was a little girl. My parents always took my brother and I to various parks and hiking areas where we grew up. It was so much fun exploring and pretending to be in another land. I can remember my dad telling us about all the different plants and trees. He was an environmentalist in his early years. I think that may have been one of the things that really opened up in me an appreciation for nature.
Before marraige and children, I often hiked with my friends. We would search for all different spots and places that we had yet to explore. My favorite area is in the Hudson Valley of New York. There are so many beautiful places – mountains, lakes, fields, rivers. When I am out there is opens up this feeling of freedom. I feel like I am breathing new air and being refreshed by the quiet beauty of the open world around me.
After having children, it has obviously been more difficult to get out there as often as I would like. The more children we have, the harder it gets, especially when they are small. But still we try to get out there a few times each year. Last week we decided to hike around the lake at the Teatown Reservation in Ossining, NY. They have a bird rescue and a nature building before the trails start. We got to see snakes, frogs, and turtles inside the building. And then outside we saw all different birds that had been rescued from accidents in the local area. There was an Eagle who could no longer fly, a Vulture who had only one wing, andthe kid’s favorite – an owl with only one eye.
We then started the 2 mile hike on the blue trail around the lake. Cliff carried the baby on his back while our other two (ages 3 & 5) walked with us. Initially I thought that this might be an issue. Our 3 year old gets tired and cranky pretty fast. But I made the hike exciting and entertaining by stopping along the way to pick up interesting looking rocks, to touch the moss growing on a tree, to listen to the frogs croaking on the lily pads, and of course to take pictures. We all had so much fun together. It was such a refreshing time as a family. Yes, it was tiring for this old pregnant mama trying to be Miss Entertainment, but we made it through.
I highly recommend doing something like this with your family. Even if you are not the outdoorsy type, forget about that for just one day and put your kids first. Allow them to blossom that appreciation for nature and God’s incredible beauty within His creation. If it were not for my own parents taking the time to take me to special places, I may not enjoy it as much as I do. But because they did that, I really value that and want to offer that to my children as well. These are memories that you can never forget.