Daily Step – Who needs a yard, really?


You know there comes a point when, just to preserve sanity, you let your children out into the muddy, rain-filled yard.

Yesterday the boys were fairly quiet indoors until lunch, and then they broke into high-pitched giggles as they ran and tackled each other repeatedly. They had some name for this game that I can’t remember now. All I remember was the decision to send them outside even after it has rained for days.

They broke free from the house like dogs being unchained from their leashes and ran immediately towards the mud. They let it cover their feet and when that wasn’t enough, they dipped their hands in it to feel the squishiness between their fingers. Then, before I knew it, they were letting the mud take flight and land over and over again on the slide and the sides of the playhouse. The playhouse was immediately covered in mud from head to toe.

But don’t worry, they found a way to clean themselves up in a container of dirty rain water located over by the fence. Their hands actually got pretty clean from it before they decided to make new mud with the water and the watering can they found.

And all of this happened in less than five minutes after I sent them out with two rules: 1) Avoid the mud; 2) No water.

Some may say I’m winning at parenting right now. My backyard is clear evidence of that.

But I’m trying to remind myself that it’s okay to let them be children running free, finding ways to be creative and experience the world in their own ways.

I mean, who needs a pretty yard anyway? The chickens certainly don’t seem to mind.

I love this piece of a poem by Mary Oliver to remind me to let my sons (and me) experience the wonder of the world outside this summer.

“I don’t want you to just sit at the table.
I don’t want you just to eat, and be content.
I want you to walk into the fields
Where the water is shining, and the rice has risen.
I want you to stand there, far from the white tablecloth.
I want you to fill your hands with mud, like a blessing.”

It’s still raining over here today. So that means more mud. The boys will be thrilled.

How will you experience the blessings of nature today?

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