Much to my amazement, I have had several clients in the past who say they never open their windows. Even when they go to the beach, apparently, they spend most of their time shopping or indoors. I don't think fear of the sun is the reason for the hibernation since we have large brimmed hats, improved sunscreen, umbrellas, and even UV protective clothing. Our climate controlled houses have done a lot more to change the social landscape than provide heat in the winter and cooling in the summer. The constant temperature of these houses has seduced and reduced people to a life indoors. It has also served to remove them from the joys of playing and working outside. When I say take time to smell the roses, I really mean, get out there, find a rose, and smell it- after all- hot house flowers are usually not perfumed.
Remember, as a child, begging your teachers to hold class outside on the first warm days of spring? There were a kind few who capitulated. These visionaries realized that your mind wasn't in the classroom anyway so they might as well enjoy the day with you. Somehow, small fragments of knowledge found their way through the scent of freshly mown grass. These few teachers also recognized the benefits of daydreaming. Charlemagne is long dead and another day without learning those dates won't hurt.
My twenty month old granddaughter, Flora, when she visits, insists that we spend most of our time outside. Unless she is hungry, or wants a nap, she cries when we go inside. We and our German Shepherd, Oliver, (who she calls Aaee) spend a lot of time across the street at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. We roll in the grass, put our hands in the fountain, go up and down the steps, and enjoy the Chihuly reeds. I must say it's the best back yard in Richmond.
Many of us have become very disconnected with our world. Spending time outside is a wonderful way to reengage. Do you remember how to make a clover chain? Pick some clover blossoms, make a vertical slit in the stem of one and pass the stem of another through it. Continue until you have a necklace. Did you ever make fairy dining tables and dishes? Take four small twigs of equal size, put a piece of bark on top, and use acorn bottoms for dishes. How about making a boat out of a piece of bark, a twig for a mast, and a leaf for a sail. Dining al fresco isn't only for the fairies.
This spring or summer, make it a point to eat lunch or dinner outside. When my children were small, we often had parties in the back yard. I laid out quilts (even tattered ones), threw large floor pillows covered in Indian prints around the yard and punctuated the scene with large Chinese paper umbrellas. Very Bloomsbury Bohemian. Of course, you might want to have a stash of organic bug spray and suncreen in a basket near the guests. There is something playful and child's teaparty-like in preparing an outdoor meal. It needn't be elaborate, you could always go with prepared foods, but the pleasures of a picnic are worth the effort.
This year, turn off the computer, shut down the reality TV, and spend some delightful time outside. You needn't even have an activity planned. Yesterday, Flora sat in my lap at her house in the country and we just listened to birds for twenty minutes- a life time for a toddler- but she was very content the whole time.
Let me know how you enjoyed your time outside.