Monday, August 17, 2009


During our time spent in Maine, my children were content to be barefoot in the sand, digging in mud, prying barnacles off mossy rocks, peering into mysterious tide pools, collecting rocks and seashells, finding hidden paths to walk along in the woods, walking balance-beam style on large pieces of driftwood found on the beach, jumping from rock to rock and scooping up seaweed with sticks.

It really makes it so clear that children do not need many things to experience a full, satisfying and peaceful life.

Satisfying their natural curiosities and having their need for physical movement met each day are basic needs. And there is no better place for a child to have these needs met than in the natural world around them in the out-of-doors.

It wasn't only the children who felt this immense freedom at the shore, but the adults also. For me it was about all of the different textures at the shore...
the soft, hot grainy sand,
solid, wet packed sand that was cooled by the ebb and flow of the tide,
hard, sharp rocks that were climbed to experience a great view,
small, smooth pebbles at the water's edge,
pointy, cracked seashells along the sand,
slimy seaweed slipping beneath my feet.

This sounds so simplistic, but for me experiencing all of these different terrains with my bare feet makes me feel something unexplainable. These textures are not part of my normal day. They are unique and different. And just as one's body responds positively to varying movement patterns when exercising (muscle confusion) the effects of this uncommon ground has the power to really transform mind, body and spirit. Truly therapeutic.

We only brought along a few pails and shovels on our outings and our children never asked for anything more. They spent hours making their own fun and my husband and I were content to sit nearby and just observe. There were times when they needed and wanted us to interact, help and join in, but for the most part they were free to play independently and didn't appear to want or need anything from us.

They were learning from the natural world around them without interference from lessons plans, books or well-intentioned curriculum and this was one of the best parts of our getaway in my opinion. I'm so glad that we all got the chance to be free and explore to our hearts content.


Kate said...

yes, yes, and yes. Our senses explode in the outside world, in all the best ways.

Donna ~Blessed Nest said...

ahhhh..Maine. I love Maine and yes it sounds like Heaven. So glad you enjoyed your time away.

Amanda L. said...

It's so cliche, but you know Maine's state motto is "The Way Life Should Be" and everytime I see that sign on Route 1 after crossing that bridge from Portsmouth I sigh and agree with the sign.

I wonder if living there is as magical as visiting??