Friday, August 16, 2013

Open to Nature

I think a lot about nature, clearly.  I think the world needs more nature.  It makes me sad that we humans do such a shoddy job taking care of nature and we seem so ambitious to take it all away. Maybe it sounds cliche but I do think children are our future (as well as our present!) and I work hard to introduce my girls to as much nature as possible.  During our trip to Virginia this week, I took Sophie and Clara to the mountains twice....once to the Peaks of Otter and another day to Big Meadows.  I hadn't been to Big Meadows since I was a child and Ginny's posts on her blog made me want to go again.  Wow.  You just cannot imagine the beauty that exists in this place.  My breath was taken away!  I can't remember the last time I could say that.  I will post pictures of our visit very soon, but a few things happened during our time in the meadow that made me desire to send out this post first. 

When we got out of the car to walk through the meadow, the air was slightly chilly and the wind was blowing gently.  The sun was shining and the clouds were white, fluffy, and simply divine.  I don't know how anyone could go to this place and not feel a stirring in their very soul.  We crossed over a small hill and stepped into the grass.  Sophie was leading the way, I was walking in the middle and Clara was bringing up the rear.  Suddenly I realized I didn't hear Clara's footsteps behind me.  I turned around and found this.....

Clara was standing still, her head tilted upwards, and you could tell that the breeze was caressing her sweet cheeks.  Her arms were WIDE open.  Her eyes were closed.  The wind was flirting with her little curls.  She stayed like this for quite some time.  At some point, I remembered to pull up my camera.  I'm so glad I did. This will be one of those parenting moments that I will always remember and cherish.

Clara was open to nature.

When do we lose this?  I want to know.  I didn't see any adults that day with arms wide open embracing the warmth and fresh air and gentle breeze.  Not to say that they weren't enjoying it......I'm an adult and I enjoyed it immensely.  Yet, why wasn't I throwing my arms out to embrace this perfection? Why didn't I close my eyes to savor the freshness and chill?  I think we have to all agree that, at some point, we become self-conscious.  Could someone be watching us?  What would they think? Or do we just become preoccupied and fail to notice the miraculous beauty that surrounds us? I had just passed by a shopping center on my way to the mountains that was PACKED with people.  Yet I thought Skyline Drive was quite empty.  Why?  How come people aren't lined up to visit a place this magical?

These thoughts were immediately taken over by the realization that I had given my children an amazing gift on this glorious, glorious day.

As the three of us started down one of the trails, I think we were overwhelmed by the variety and beauty of the wildflowers. 

As I watched I noticed that Clara was gravitating to the wildflower that I believe is Queen Anne's Lace.

She kept touching the flowers of the plant.  Very gently.  Which is unusual for Clara.

What amazed me though is the way she would take a bloom in both of her hands and pull it gently to her chest.  It looked like she was caressing the flowers.  She would then let it go without doing any damage at all. I tried my best to capture this in the photo above.

There's no question that Clara was fascinated by the flowers.

Before Sophie was born, Alain and I sat down and each wrote a list of five things that we wanted to impart to our children.  I'm sure you're not surprised to know that Nature was on my list.  On this beautiful day, I felt happy to know that I was succeeding in helping our children fall in love with Nature. I know I'm right because, on the drive home, Sophie kept thanking me for taking her to Big Meadows....that it was so amazing.....that she really loved it. I hope she (and Clara) keep that with them always!

Sophie & Clara, our day at Big Meadows was such a perfect day.  I'm so glad I spent it with you!


  1. What a beautiful post! I love Clara's arms wide open to the natural world and I love that you captured that image.
    Your love of nature will most certainly be carried on by your daughters. Good for you and your husband!

  2. Oh I love this post, Audrey! Love the photos of your sweet little Clara soaking it all in. Living in a big city, I can fully appreciate whenever I get a chance to soak up some nature - I crave it if it's been too long. Lovely, lovely post!!!


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