In our part of the world, the first day of the Outdoors Family Challenge started damp but ended with a glowing sunset. (Read the Day 1 prompt or follow my page on Facebook to get ones throughout the week!)
In fact, the challenge has already gotten someone outside who wouldn’t have been otherwise – me! While the rain had stopped by the time I got out of work, it’s likely I wouldn’t have sat on our wet front steps. Instead, I grabbed Sprout and Little Bird and headed out the front door.
While I tried to make a smooth segue into the activity, I realized transitions are irrelevant to someone who spends much of his time singing random words at the top of his lungs. Instead, I just said, “Want to play a game?”
We sat in silence for a few minutes. Or maybe it was only 30 seconds. Hard to tell with a three-year-old and 33-year-old without her phone. I gazed at the white and gray clouds skimming through the sky, the pine tree boughs bending over the steps, the shaggy grass. I listened to the crickets chirping and crows squawking. I felt the dark, damp concrete under me, a mosquito biting me, and a slightly squirmy baby on my lap.
“What do you see?” I asked Sprout. “A tree!” he responded, pointing at the tree next to us. “What do you see on the tree?” I pushed a little further. He looked up. “Pinecones!”
“I see the clouds moving,” I said, my finger tracing the sky. “What do you hear?”
“I hear a truck!” he said, as a vehicle drove by. “And the 59 bus! I’m so excited about the 59 bus that I’m hitting my airplane!” he proclaimed, whacking his brand-new Green Toys airplane that he brought out with him. The boy does love his public transit.
After a few more questions, we roamed away from the steps to feel the wet grass on our hands and inspect a tree covered in green splotches of lichen. Sprout struggled to identify my “expanded I Spy” clues, so I promptly gave up on them. Instead, I followed his lead.
“Mommy, come this way!” he yelled, so I did. We circled the house, tromping through the yard. I walked as quickly as I could while balancing a gloriously calm baby. “It’s a pinecone!” Sprout proclaimed, picking up a pinecone. He then promptly dropped it.
While running around like a ninny and yelling about trees may not seem very peaceful to most people, it was the most mindful I’ve been in ages.