“Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth… Walt Whitman
It has been a glorious week with the grandchildren. Not only because they’re fun and funny, quirky and curious, insightful and imaginative and we love them both beyond human reason, but also because we had the good sense to get them outside most every day. The short adventures in Golden Gate Park biking, walking, playing paddleball or frisbee, visits to other city parks like Buena Vista, Sales Force Tower, the Presidio. Then the whole day excursions to Angel Island, which included a ferry ride and an 8-mile hike (they’re hearty hikers!), another hike to Muir Woods alternating looking up at the redwoods with awe and on the path’s edges at poison oak with anxiety and today, a visit to Tilden Park in Berkeley which included feeding celery to cows at the Little Farm and riding the Steam Train.
Whitman had it right. Though we’re choosing to sleep and eat most dinners indoors, the days out in the open air are just the ticket. Their intense kid energy is diffused in the wide open spaces, they’re happier moving and taking in the sights and sounds and smells, they’re beginning to learn a wide variety of plants and trees and whether the weather be hot (last Tuesday), cold (boat ride to Angel Island) or in-between, it just feels good to be outside. For all of us.
Also a good time to praise and express gratitude for this most remarkable San Francisco Bay Area with its diverse eco-systems— the woods, the hills, the shore of the Bay and ocean, the expansive views, the intimate forested paths, the inviting broad meadows, the world alive with crows, gulls, seals, coyotes, colored with poppies and cherry blossoms and lupine, illuminated by bright sun or shrouded in misty fog.
Might at least some of our restlessness or boredom or aloneness simply come from too much time indoors? Sometimes just opening the door and stepping outside (with the phone buried deep) is enough to remind us of “the secret of the best persons.”
And extra credit if we take the kids with us.