I often end my environmental education programs by asking students to share something they’ve learned during their time at the Arboretum. Recently, a second grader answered: “That nature is everywhere, even inside.” Her response left me a little perplexed. Until this morning, that is, when my daughter shouted for me to look out the kitchen window. Tucked in the branches of a leafy bush, serenely bobbing up and down in the wind, sat a mother cardinal in her nest.
We’ve spent the day watching her, and she’s spent the day watching us, seemingly as interested in our doings as we are in hers. Perhaps the antics of my four children have her worrying about impending motherhood. Or perhaps she’s keeping a wary eye on the one-eyed cat who is no friend to birds.
Whatever the case, her presence is a good reminder that nature is everywhere, inside and out. Through all seasons, in rain and sun, light and darkness, nature is a constant in our lives, so much so that it often becomes the “background noise” that we tune out. Why not take a few moments each day to tune back in? Lie in the grass and admire the canopy of a backyard tree. Listen to the rich hum of bumblebees on your front porch. Admire the invincibility of pollen as it blankets your windowsill. Open your eyes like a second grader, and be prepared to be amazed.
For more wonderful ways to live a “nature-rich life,” check out Richard Louv’s new book, Vitamin N, which will soon be on sale in the Arboretum’s gift shop.
by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator