Monday, November 3, 2008

A fort

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was to hide out under this cherry tree on the back of our yard, just on the other side of where my parents grew vegetables. I can remember taking apart this old compost bin my dad had and moving it over there and figuring out how to make the sides stand up so that I was somewhat enclosed. I loved the branches on the cherry tree because they made me feel surrounded and secure. I always loved that spot. I have been thinking a lot about the freedom I had as a kid in nature. I'm sure it is mostly because I'm reading a book about the lack of contact with nature children have and what it is doing to them and to us. We spend so much time inside staring at computer screens and televisions and listening to radios that we are cutting ourselves off from nature and our wild landscapes are becoming so few and far between that what space we do have to explore is so precious that we can't USE it the way I did when I was kid. I loved to climb trees and build forts and play in mud and build dams on creeks. I can remember my mom telling me she couldn't keep me clean. In fact, I have little memory of watching very much television or of being inside except at night. Most of my memories include being outside in their garden picking vegetables, or climbing trees, or riding my bike, or playing with my neighborhood friends, or exploring the yard and field behind my house. So, yesterday, I was reminiscing to myself and thought we are lucky enough to live on the land I grew up on and it has been abused. It was once a cotton field, then a dumping ground for trash. (That was once a very common thing people did.) I can even remember riding with my grandpa on his tractor to haul his trash to the big hole that sits on the back of my property and all our neighbors did the same. Now, we have chosen to leave our land alone for the most part, but I feel like the kids roaming around on it makes the trees happy. So, on Sunday, as I was sitting outside admiring the glorious day, I thought to myself, I wanted the kids to build a REAL fort. Here's what we ended up with. It isn't far into the woods just on the other side of the driveway and sand pile and it isn't made of all sticks because we didn't need it to be. It's attached to three trees and is a nice little hide out with two doors and it can evolve as they want it to. I want the kids to know the freedom of play in the woods unhindered by guilt that they might mess something up because our woods need the love that children offer. The animals that live around us don't seem to mind them and children aren't who are creating urban sprawl, it's adults... I could rant on and on, but there's no need... we all know we have to protect what we have as best we can and stop spreading out and destroying what is left... I hope this fort grows into something else as time goes on and I'm mostly thankful that we live somewhere where we can build forts and dams and get dirty and be in contact with nature as much as we want and there isn't anyone to stop us!

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  1. Ooooh I love it! I completely agree with you- I was outside as a kid so much more than my kids are now. And I lived in the suburbs! We still made due with what we had and built forts and played all sorts of games in the yard. I want to move my kids more towards this as well.