I will be the first to admit that I often give the excuse that I am too busy to do what my kids want, especially when it involves going into the woods to see a “secret” fort, deer stand, or “special” rock. Not because I don’t like my children or am anti-nature, but I don’t always find joy in the trees or rocks that my darlings do and the matters in the house seem much more pressing. (The stick-tights and cockleburs are also on my list of unhappy things, and they are bad right now.)
This past weekend was no exception. I was not particularly excited about following my son down his “secret” path to see his “deer hunting” tree or his “special” hidden fort. Something told me that it meant more to him to share than it did for me to fold the laundry or finish the dishes. As he lead me into the woods, my 9-year-old chattered like a squirrel in a tree about the way he and his friends had discovered this place and how cool it was. His happy chatter was welcomed, as he has been in a bit of a funk lately unable to find kind words or pleasant things to say to his siblings or I.
When we arrived at the “deer hunting” tree, I saw a dead, dried up evergreen. What my son saw was an opportunity to sit up high, watching wildlife, with ample branches to share the spot with his friends as they “hunted” deer. I asked if the branches felt like they were going to break and he said, “No. They’re good. I know which ones I can stand and sit on.”
“Aren’t you afraid you’ll fall?” I asked.
“Nope. I’ll just catch another branch if I start to go down. There’s plenty in this tree.”
He was so secure in his answer I had to smile. As nimbly as a squirrel, my boy scampered down and said, “Come this way. Over here is my secret fort.”
The fort was a covey of thorn bushes and vines with a few fallen limbs. “Isn’t it a perfect hiding place?” called my son proudly from inside the bramble. I had to admit it was a pretty impressive hidey hole (even though he was very visible in his bright blue shirt and red and black shoes). My boy continued to crawl in and out inspecting his fort, adding a few sticks here, and adjusting vines there. He explained how the fort worked for rabbits and birds to hide from predators and that he bet deer could use the fort too, IF he and his friends hadn’t blocked the door with their super duper “gate.” (The “gate” was a half dozen sticks leaning over the opening of the thicket.)
It made me proud to know that he was aware of wildlife and how the elements found in the woods met their needs too. When I asked him if he thought the animals wished he would get out of their hiding place, my 9 year-old calmly explained that they didn’t mind because he and his friends would keep out the bad animals, like coyotes and foxes.
He was comfortable and confident in his fort and along the path. It was reassuring to know that there was a place he could easily tap into nature and the security it brings.
In a world were chaos seems to reign, I’m grateful for the chance to find security in nature. I’m thankful for the fresh air, room to roam, and the lessons of life that come from innocent adventures in the outdoors. I’m exceptionally indebted to my tour guide of his “deer hunting” tree and “secret” fort. Our journey was a peaceful and positive reminder that we can let others share discoveries and inspire us to enjoy the simple pleasures that are hidden right in front of us.
Add some Intentergy to your day and seek out a part of nature that instills serenity or allows you to make a connection with someone or something else. Even if your shared joy comes from a camouflaged hidey hole, at least you will be safe and secure with another being, and there’s a lot of positive energy that comes from feeling protected, accepted, and natural.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Yes, I know climbing trees is NOT the safest of pastimes, but at least he’s not trying to tame the coyotes and foxes.
P.P.S. Our last Bloggers BeLOnG Session for 2020 is next Monday, November 16th. Join us to help find security and adventure in the blogosphere.