I grew up in an ugly place. (I can hear my mom now, “April! It is not ugly, it has it’s own beauty.”) Well, beauty is supposedly in the eye of the beholder, and this beholder says it’s ugly. Or rather, it has an absence of beauty. Except for our skies. Our skies are gorgeous. The point is, I did not grow up in an obviously nature rich environment. No mountains to hike, no streams to splash in, no ocean to be mesmerized by.
I did have this!
We also had jack rabbits, rattlesnakes, mesquite trees, and coyotes. They like to eat the jack rabbits. The point is, because our our natural beauty wasn’t obvious, you had to hunt for it. And to be honest, I generally didn’t recognize it as “beauty” when I found it, although I did find it interesting. I do recognize the beauty now. (Yes, mom. West Texas has it’s own special beauty. Fine. You win.)
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I was blessed to have parents who took me on nature hunts. Both of my parents have a love and appreciation of natural beauty that they passed on to their children. Our family vacations were almost always to places of holding beauty that we weren’t normally exposed to, and my parent’s were careful to point out the nature surrounding us. My dad had the sharpest eyes and the West and could spot a deer, wild turkey, or bird of prey while driving down the road at 55 miles an hour. (Sometimes our road trips were really exciting.) My mother’s heartfelt adoration of all God’s creation is infectious. I pray I am half as capable as they were at passing on an appreciation of nature to my own children.
Over the next few days I’m going to not so much review as interact with the book Last Child in The Woods by Richard Louv. This book tackles nature deficit–our culture’s increasing separation and ignorance of the natural world and specifically it’s impact on children and what can be done about it. He writes,
As a boy, I was unaware that my woods were ecologically connected with any other forests. Nobody in the 1950s talked about acid rain or holes in the ozone layer or global warming. But I knew my woods and fields; I knew every bend in the creek and dip in the beaten dirt paths. I wandered those woods even in my dreams. A kid today can likely tell you about the Amazon rain forest–but not about the last time he or she explored the woods in solitude, or law in a field listening to the wind and watching the clouds move.
This book has really caused me to think (insert joke here.) That we are less and less connected with the natural world is evident; the impact of that disconnect and what can be done about it less so. Nevertheless, this book actually left me encouraged and inspired, and I have much to say about it. Stay tuned!