In the past twelve months, I’ve been a homeschooling teacher (temporarily), figured out how to work from home full-time and maintained a stable supply of toilet paper. We went from being out and about in the community to everyone at home. It was a lot! But one of the things we did from the start was get outside more.
I asked people on my Facebook page for a list of items that we could search for in the woods. We had everything from birch bark and 3 types of moss to bones, different shapes of pinecones, mushrooms and beechnuts on our list. We eagerly searched the woods around our house and crossed off items. It was good for everyone’s mental health to be outside and exploring.
It made me think back to my own childhood and walking through the woods with my Grammie.
Along with my sister, we would walk the woods behind her house for hours. We searched the trails that my Grandpa had made to exercise his pulling ponies. We walked the snowmobile trails. We found trees growing parallel to the ground that created a perfect seat. We watched birds, squirrels, butterflies and deer and filled our pockets with acorns, feathers, pinecones and leaves. It’s where my love of the outdoors really began.
We spent countless hours rolling down the hill next to her house. We had the biggest leaf piles around, which could be where my love of racking leaves came from! There was always something new to find outdoors and in the woods no matter the season or the current weather. Grammie was our chosen chaperone when our classes hiked Bald Mountain. If we were outside, chances are that Grammie was with us. And it was wonderful!
In so many cases, it is someone’s dad or grandfather that introduced them to the outdoors. My Dad is and forever will be my favorite hunting partner but it was Grammie who really unlocked the explorer and nature lover in me. It is the foundation that had gotten me to where I am today. She is still out exploring. We’ve caught her on our trail cameras a few times!
More kids need a Grammie like mine in their lives to take them exploring and introduce a love and wonder of the woods and streams into their lives. I am blessed that Grammie is now showing my kids the wonders of the woods and the pinecones, acorns and feathers that still find their way into her pockets.