Sunday, 26 August 2012

Do you go down to the woods to play?

I have great memories of playing in farmers' fields as a child.  Climbing over stiles, slipping over in cow pats, even falling in nettles, to this day these childhood experiences have made me more comfortable in the countryside than out and about in a town.

I was lucky to grow up in the rural South West.  Every Sunday when I visited my grandparents I was free to let my imagination run wild in the nearby fields and orchards. Meaning that I've always felt at home in the quiet of the country.

Hubby and I took advantage of a few short hours of sunshine this long weekend to do some blackberry picking.  We're lucky as we live in a semi-rural area, and so a ten minute drive took us into the heart of a wooded area, loved by dog walkers and wild deer alike. 

We had a lovely morning, and it was wonderful to see the wood so full of families also exploring.  One little girl was, in ways only little children can be, completely enamoured by a slug, where as her brother was trying to get her to come and look at the hole he had found.  I couldn't help but smile at their wide-eyed amazement. It made me want to keep exploring around corners, and possibly even building a den out of fallen leaves.

I firmly believe that children should experience nature.  I didn't realise it as a child, but my Sunday afternoon scampering around the Somerset woodland was one of freedom.  I was allowed to follow my imagination, and I'd easily while away the hours simply thinking.

It never fails to astound me that If I ever have go attend a meeting for work I am at a complete loss without Google Maps and my mobile phone's GPS.  But drop me into a wood, I find myself confidently striding off, knowing that I'll be able to retrace my steps no matter how many corners tempt me round their bends.

It does amaze me that so many children are scared of forests.  Of course we all need to be careful, you don't want to get lost, and you don't want to always meet a stranger amongst the trees... However it is unlikely that you'll be gobbled up by the Big Bad Wolf if you're walking through the woods.

I do wish we lived in a world where patents could be more relaxed about the where their children played. 

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