Tuesday, June 28, 2011

101 things to do...#2: Look UP!

When was the last time you lay on the ground and looked up? There are so many wonderful things to see. It's one thing to tilt one's head back and look up, it's another thing entirely to actually lie down on your back, breathe deeply, and take it all in. The experience is worth savoring. Trust me.

L reminded me of the value of this vantage point recently by stopping suddenly during playtime outside and dropping to the ground on her back, under the swaying leaves of a maple tree:

"Oh, Mommy, you just have to come and lie down with me. It looks like the trees are laughing."

We tend to spend an awful lot of time on our feet. Second to that comes sitting down. But think of it-we're always looking at stuff that's in front of us, usually at eye-level. It is good to change that vantage point from time to time. Check things out from a different perspective.

It really doesn't matter where you do this: your front yard or the wilderness. Just do it. Lie down, all the way down. Take a deep breath. Feel your body being completely supported by the earth beneath you. And notice what you see: Are there clouds? Leaves overhead? What color is the sky? Do this on a hill, in a valley, near a lake, near a stream. Try it in a desert-try it wherever you are, at whatever time of day it happens to be. Just try it. Give yourself a few minutes to really relax and enjoy. Worried about bugs, or the tickling grass? Whatever-throw down a blanket and lie down on that. Do what you need to be comfortable.

Children need and deserve opportunities to quietly savor the natural world, to really "take it in" in as many ways as they can. In early childhood especially, they are developing an aesthetic awareness--that ability to quietly reflect and consider beauty. Provide them with plenty of opportunities to find beauty, in as many ways as you can. What better way to do this than to lie down quietly together and share the beauty of nature?

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