Outside

When a new year begins, I basically like to make the laziest resolutions possible, things that I know I would've done anyway, such as: I resolve to have a lot of fun this year. I resolve to savor each moment with my babies. I resolve to at least try to exercise, sometimes.

But, I do pay special attention to the transitional time, in my secret superstitious way, to try to get a feel for how the new year is shaping up. The first few minutes, hours, days, and weeks of the new year have a certain auspicious feel to them. While tidying up from the holidays and busying myself with the January birthdays, making fresh starts and going about family life, I am also paying attention to what the rhythms feel like, what the days seem to naturally offer. Whether people are in good moods or bad, myself included, what people are talking about, what kinds of general hopes we generate as a species, as little tribes, as families. Traffic, grocery store tellers, words I hear, repetitions, stories. These are things I like to note all the time, but they have a certain quality of import around the beginning of January.

This year in the back of my mind I have it that I want to be outdoors as much as possible. Not just this year, really, but it's more immediate right now, like, even though it's January I want to spend as much time as possible outside with my girls every day. This isn't purely for a nature-mama-earth-inspired reason. The truth is, in part, that my girls sleep much better if they've spend a good bit of the day outside in natural light. I also want to spend time outside even if it's raining or cold, bundled up of course, because it's just fun for the girls and I want them to grow up feeling adaptable and excited by all kinds of weather. We'll see about that if it ever starts raining again. (please oh please)


January 1, the year starts with animals gathering round our tree out front for all the peanut leftovers and birdseed: deer in packs of three, four, five and more, a squirrel party of peanut-seizing, and sparrows, bushtits, and bluejays in hordes. We have such fun watching them.




Then another river trip, Darin takes a short run and we bring a picnic basket and my identification guide. Rocks and sand in hands and mouth, dirty fingers and running legs, making friends with swimming dogs.






Almost every day has been nice enough to play in the backyard. They get dirty, muddy, a little bit wet, but I don't care. We've gotten to soak in some nice fresh vitamin D.



One night we had a bonfire, Lucy's request.


January 10: at Utah's birthday party we spend most of the afternoon playing outside at Grandma Vickey's ranch. She has all the fun stuff. 





After cake and presents, we spend sunset outside with the donkey and goats.



Pumpkin the donkey is getting so very old. We toss her her carrots so she doesn't have to teeteringly and shyly approach us.



A perfect evening.



We let the last chicken into the coop and then Ryann plays with Lucy and Utah in the leaves until it gets dark.


January 12: on our walk downtown we pass a big beautiful dead raccoon that has been hit by a car. We love him and he hurts my heart and I happen to know he's been there two days already and I can't stand it, so I call trusty Pops to pick him up and bring him to bury him in our yard.

Lucy is fairly unfazed by the dead raccoon but very interested in digging.



Polly wears her mushroom shirt from Fern.



Later. Nana comes over with more birdseed and we fill pans of water for the deer and squirrels since it's dry now. 



A lot of fun indoor stuff has happened too, but so far I haven't been so great at another of my lazy, back-of-my-mind goals: read more. So I think that's what I'll go do. 
Hope your days are filled with nature, beauty, and happy prospects for 2015!


Comments

Rachel Weaver said…
I tend to make mini-resolutions all year long. I get excited about something and try to remember to make it a priority. Being outside is one of those things that pops in and out of intentions. I made a point of going outside for at least an hour every day for thirty days last winter and it really did help my mood.
I just started to type an excuse about why I needed to put off doing this for the time being, and then erased it. I'm going to force myself out of doors this afternoon, below freezing temperatures be damned.
Amy Beatty said…
I still can't get over that polly girl walking!! nothing cuter than that little dumpling holding that carrot for the goat!!! Love lucy digging with pops too!! such sweet times xoxox
Lindy from Washington :-) said…
Oh Heather! I can't tell you how much I love your blog. It's like opening a letter from an old friend. A pen pal maybe? You are so real. You think, you move people. Honestly, when I'm in a bad mood, I think about your cute little outfits, your cute family, your sense of wonderment, and I begin to gleam :-) Your love for animals. Your a kin to myself. I live in the country, and so sadly I see so many animals hit by cars. I saw a beautiful black lab the other day on my way to work. Side of road. I got out, kneeled down, begin sobbing so hard for her, marched to the nearest house, reached an old man who said he knows where she was from and that he'd "take care of it", I cried my whole way to work, that night on my way home, he hadn't, so I called animal control so she could be properly picked up and given the dignity she deserves. I have buried so many animals that I see. They deserve more. It's us, people, that kill them. Our cars, our busy ways. I ache, just ache for our forest friends, for them all. So Heather, thank you for being an Earth sister. A lovely lady. An all too rare specimen. I wish more were like you. God has indeed blessed you with the most beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing your gift! Lindy~ :-)
Milla said…
Wow. I love this resolution. It's awesome that you take the effort to get your kids used to all kinds of weather and let them roam. You know, in Finland, kids go out in daycare and school come rain, shine or snowstorm. There's even an outside all day except for naps pre-school in Helsinki. I mean temps dip to -25 and more fahrenheit! We're also the masters of kids outdoor clothing, so that helps. I basically played in a rubber suit eight months out of the year my whole childhood.

I sleep better and am more focused when I spend time outside too, so it seems like the perfect thing for little ones and there's just so much to do and see. Good Job Mom! That's inspiring <3

I'm such a homebody and adventurer that it's hard for me to just do little outside excursions, but really, those are the best, a walk around the neighborhood, some yard work, a bike ride to the store.
Anonymous said…
Your observations are always inspiring Heather and often your blog makes me go "oh I'll have to try that" and then I resolve to go for an outing in the woods or visit the library with my son or have a gathering of a bunch of friends or whatever fun you are up to. Thanks!
But this time it made me giggle, because at first I said to myself "how nice to play outside more, we should go for it how come I've never..." and then I remembered. Where I live the ground is covered in ice. Most of the snow is gone but walking anywhere is a real hazard. and it's eight at night and I can hear it raining. It'll probably get colder during the night so we'll have a fresh layer of ice.
It's beautiful but without exaggeration it takes me twice as long to walk to the tram stop in the morning. Not very practical in other words!
All this to say that your blog is an inspiration.
:)
Alice
TheSteamtrunk said…
Hey Heather babe, I like that you resolve to do exercise sometimes..heehehehehe. I think my resolution is to stop wishing time away, this year I feel like I want more, which is good as my whole last year was one big ball of anxiety - hoping that all of my worries would complete themselves. I let out a big breath now because I'm relieved that this year is going to be different. My worries seem to do that - stick with me throughout the year, I can't help but think that it is tied in with whatever major obligations I have that year (mmm, my Teacher Aide Cert probably). This year feels better. And it helps to see the freshness in your photos, it never looks terribly cold where you are. Hope you got some cosy winter time. xo Teeny
Tera said…
I use to be so ungrateful for warm and suny days after January 1st when I was younger. Now I just love them and appreciate the sun hugs so much! I too feel the pull outdoors and just like sitting and watching August, letting the mind take in and savor the moments. love this post.

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