Play is an essential part of a well balanced life whether we are talking about children or adults. As children, play helps guide us into our lives as adults and as adults, play allows us to step back from those lives and de-stress. Spending time in nature is another essential aspect of a healthy life. Combining nature and play creates a winning combination.
My granddaughter is terrified of bees — especially bumble bees. She comes by it naturally. Her mother is terrified of them too. I think it stems from seeing her baby sister repeatedly stung by a swarm of honeybees while playing on a neighborhood school playground. I’ll admit that it was a traumatic incident, but it happened over 30 years ago, so it’s time to move on! (On a side note- the one who was actually stung isn’t bothered in the least by bees; she considers them her garden friends)
In 1937, after witnessing the havoc and economic desperation that the Dust Bowl had wreaked on our nation, Franklin D Roosevelt sent a letter to all of the governors of the United States, asking them to oversee the adoption of legislation that would create soil conservation districts. In his letter, Roosevelt wrote, “The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” His words, so appropriate to the time, still hold truth for us today. Because of our incomplete understanding of soil biology combined with incorrect and overuse of chemicals, we have put our soil and water at risk. If we continue to destroy our environment, then we will eventually destroy ourselves.
As strange as it may seem, I’d like to start the second blog in our soil series thinking about water. Soil is our economic base, but water is our lifeblood. And the reality is that soil and water are directly connected.
One of my neighbors stopped by a few weeks ago to comment on our yard. “Seeing all the flowers in bloom,” she said, “made her feel like spring was right around the corner.” I have to admit that as much as I appreciated and understood her intent, her compliment made me cringe inside. You see, she was seeing my snowdrops, daffodils and crocus all in bloom at the same time. Yes, it made for a color-filled late February bed, but they should have been blooming in succession; that’s what Mother Nature intended.
According to NASA’s latest satellite pictures, the United States currently boasts 49,000 square miles of lawn area. That’s larger than the entire state of Mississippi and the nation’s single-most irrigated “crop.” It’s also one of the most expensive, costing Americans roughly 76 billion dollars a year and 14 hours a week to maintain. But, where did this obsession with a lush, green lawn originate?
I have been feeling incredibly stressed lately. Unfortunately, when I am stressed, I just shut down which, of course, increases my stress level and renders me virtually useless. My “To Do” list gets longer and my “Done” list stays blank. The only way I can interrupt this cycle is to take a nature break.
My birthday is just around the corner, which means that it is time for our annual Christmas conversation – should we buy a real tree or an artificial tree this year? I’m not sure why we still have the conversation since for 47 years we’ve come to the same conclusion, but it seems wise to rehash all the pros and cons before we head out to buy the most perfect 7 foot Douglas Fir we can find.