I started reading this book a couple of weeks ago and I am completely sucked in. This is a fascinating book about how this generation is starved for experiences with nature. Page after page, I am saddened to think about children who aren't free to roam their neighborhoods and streets actively participating in free play. It seems today that kids are busy with structured play- sports, dance, etc- or they're in front of the television or playing video games. I am so thankful that my parents allowed me and my siblings to enjoy childhood freedom. My fondest memories are those that centered around nature or natural settings-- playing hide-n-seek in the summer evenings until way past dark and then lying in the grass and watching the stars; swimming in the river and canals; making mud pies in the backyard; helping in the family vegetable garden (although at the time I hated it!); running through the sprinkler and then laying on the hot cement to get warm (I can still smell the scent of wet, hot cement and the sound of my breath against the rough sidewalk and feeling the warm summer sun on my back); jumping on the trampoline at dusk at the height of spring time surrounded by apple trees in full bloom; sleeping on the trampoline and gazing at the stars; going fishing with my dad and brothers; driving to the mountains and having a picnic by a stream and spending the day playing in the water; catching river minnows; climbing my grandpa's tree; riding my bike for hours... and countless other memories.
As an adult, the moments that I relish most while at 'play' have been and continue to be my interactions with nature--a sunset in Nauvoo; jogging through Hyde Park; swimming in the river in Zurich; riding my bike past fields and fields of sunflowers in France; pulling a handcart through 8 ft' sagebrush; night hikes in the Sawtooth mountains; basking in a natural hotspring while watching the stars; bushwacking a trail to a ghosttown in the middle of nowhere under a full moon; watching a lightning storm at the edge of the Grand Canyon; working in my yard; watching my son as he delights in a simple flower or watching him get so much joy from throwing a rock into the water.