Thursday, October 11, 2007


I took my three younger sons on a hike today at Tryon Creek Park in Lake Oswego Oregon. I love going on hikes with my kids. It feels so good to get outdoors, into nature, away from electronics, even if it is only for a half hour or hour.

Some of my best memories are going into the woods with my grandma Omi in Germany, into the Taunus in Bad Homburg v.d.H. She went hiking pretty much every day and I loved that time with her. We talked, we examined mushrooms on the way, she sang her German folks songs. Then, we'd find a cafĂ© along the paths -- yes that was great – and had German torte and coffee together.
Kids today need to get outside more, into nature, into the woods. When I was first studying to be a high school English teacher 20 years ago, I taught Henry David Thoreau and I loved his perspective about going into the woods. To live deliberately. To suck the marrow out of life.
On our hike today, I told the kids to be on the lookout for spiders, to see how many they could find and Augustin, 4, had such a fun time.
"I see one there, Mommie," he exclaimed several times. The twins, freshly minted 10, were still a bit into their digital world at first, talking about their DC games and such. "Join us," I said to them, "join the real world. Look for spiders."
"This is the real world, Mom," they countered.
My goal is to make the outdoors more of the real world to them. It takes time. To slow down. To detox from nintendo.
I did engage them eventually in the nature, making a game of our hike, looking for spiders and talking about their day, looking at mushrooms, asking how their day was.
Then, as will happen when you get brothers together, the twins started teasing their baby brother: "I found a thousand spiders." And that got Augustin upset. "No-I found more!"
"Okay, guys, no fighting in the woods." I guess I can't totally escape the reality of three boys together. They will tease, they will get at each other, they will be boys, but at least it is surrounded by trees and ivy and leaves and a soft path instead of neon lights.

Cornelia Becker Seigneur [also known as Nellie]

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