into the woods…

After months of being in Dallas, hearing stories of all the dump truck loads of tires and trash pulled out of the forest…knowing that it exists, having driven past it, being shown where the trailheads are and the spots where “just a short walk in there and you’ll see one of the best views in the city” but never having actually gone yet, we finally went on a family tour in the Trinity Forest.

And guess what!  There are WOODS in DALLAS!  As in, a real trail with topographical interest, roots coming out of the inclines, and rocks crumbling in spots.  A brief walk through a little meadow full of new flowers and berries I’ve never even seen the color of before…

…and little boys playing with rocks in the dirt…

It was so refreshing.

With little kids, your expectations and reality of going “on a hike” drastically change from what you remember pre-kids.  Kids like to be involved, feeling, doing, exploring, oogling, and then when they’re little and tired, you better be prepared with a  backpack or a strong arm or *something*!

Gone, for a time, are the days of anything that involves the words “strenuous” or “miles” but it’s a good excuse to slow down and notice the little things…

Like the one tiny green branch shooting up toward the sun, the only vestige of life left on an entire tree hell bent on surviving.

There is a lot of hype about Nature Deficit Disorder.  I get it.  Being back in the woods is like coming home.  Left at the trailhead are the manicured boxwoods and lawns…sometimes even other things we find ourselves so accustomed to we forget it’s not the “norm”…walking into the woods leaves the ticky tacky little boxes in another world…

The show “Weeds” did a great portrayal of it.  Click on the link…NBC or whoever owns the song has disabled embedding, but it’s a great visual with the song 🙂

Rather than valuing aesthetic beauty in the conventional sense, the forest knows a different beauty.  The beauty of the forest is less pruning and more like a spectacular fireworks display of determination: shoots sprouting up out of dead stump, fallen limbs that refuse to die and continue to grow skyward.

It’s this wild contradiction to the laws of thermodynamics and entropy…that even while everything is tending to chaos with trees splitting and logs decaying…the sun creates life that defies it…growing and creating the forest.

Perfectly imperfect oak trees frame the vista of the forest at our picnic spot.

In horticulture, known for their strength, size and beauty, the mighty oak is revered like few other trees.  In this forest, the oaks are imperfect friends…content to sit with you on the bench and share their vista of the forest and city…at peace as their twisted trunks rumble each time the commuter train passes.  Yes, children need the forest, in any dose they can get it.

And on the way home, tanks full of adventure and tummies full of blueberry muffins, my boys fell asleep.

Perfect.

Do you have memories of playing in the woods as a kid?  Do you find them valuable now? 

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4 responses to “into the woods…

  1. Precious, Bee. I love your perspectives.

  2. My earliest memories of playing in the trees is at this park in Santa Barbara with this monster size fig tree (I believe it is a Moreton or Morton is the americanized name Bay Fig tree/Ficus macrophylla, from Australia, planted by a little girl from Australia over 125 years ago or so). The joys of scrambling all over this tree with my Dad or My Uncle Al and cousin Marilea. Of course there were the usual pleadings from my Mom or Auntie Jo that this tree would fall over at any minute like an oak tree does and then what would they do?! Tradition has not changed much, as I see to this day little kids with their parents, etc. going through the same rituals. 🙂

    2nd on the list was the wonderful discovery of the Giant Redwoods way up in Northern California along the coast and I was convinced that it was the minerals in the sea water and fog that made them so big. (I Later on discovered that different Redwoods lived over at Yosemite too and had wrestled with the concept of really long roots to the sea….but that is another story.).

    I have always appreciated the fact that although gas had skyrocketed to .75 cents per gallon (I remember gas rationing odd/even days) and we drove a gas guzzler of a car, my parents were hell bent and determined to show me that life existed outside of smog choked Los Angeles. (I was born in Santa Barbara, but we had to move to LA due to the job situation. Uuuughh.) Sunsets were not always a firey red (unless Nature intended it to be so) and there were fantastic sounds & noises in the forests that were NOT permeated by sirens and mankind’s troubles.

    Now that I have grown up, I am still a big kid at heart when it comes to seeing such amazing trees all over the world. I have discovered that my husband Tomas is the same way and somehow we magically we go from being responsible adults in our mid to late 40’s to being little kids, discovering all the joys that such a neat natural playground provides.

  3. There’s something about being outside that fills my soul with peace, too. Even from the time I was a little girl, I would spend hours outside. When I got to be a teen, mom would insist that I go “run” when I got sassy or cranky. After being outside, I would come home at peace. It may have been the forest, or the lake, or just a dusty Minnesota road that pulled me outside. I guess I’ve always had a “wanderlust” to go out and explore – I love having a sense of independence and adventure.

    Then when I had children, it was wonderful getting out and exploring. We would take the little red wagon (packed with snacks and comfy blankets) down to the little lake in Indian Mills, NJ, and watch the geese glide into the water down by the dam — we called it our own “air show”. Once we moved to Colorado, we would spend multiple hours exploring the desolate hills of the BLM land (Bureau of Land Management), throwing rocks (“lalapaloozas” and “humdingohs”) into the winding canal.

    Even today, as a 50-something, my tank is really filled by just walking around Stony Creek, or riding my bike. Being outside is one of the simple joys of life! And because you love it, your boys will grow to love it, too. Great blog, Ging! Loved the pictures!!

  4. First, I love the last picture of Gabe! I don’t know if I remember anything specifically about a forest, but I definitely remember how as a kid forests and trees and nature in general just felt so WILD in a certain way. It was as if around the next corner would be a new adventure and it was just what I wanted to race and see what it was. It really was a part about being a kid that sticks out — your post reminds me of that wonderful newness and imagination that we’re not really wired to experience any more.

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