Security in Nature: As Guided by a 9 Year Old

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.”

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The Made-Up Truth

There are A LOT of things to remember when we leave the house each day. On a recent morning full of to-do’s, I successfully remembered: the outgoing mail, bank deposits, recycling to take to Recycling Center, a library book to return, the grocery list, car keys, coffee, purse, my mask, and to-do list.

At three of my five stops, people asked how I was feeling. While their concern seemed to be genuine, I had to wonder what about me made them worried for my health.

It was not until I pulled into my garage and looked in my rearview mirror that I realized the cause of their concern. I discovered that in my determination to be prepared for a morning of errands I forgot to put on make-up and my hair may or may not have been a little crazier than usual. Ooops!

This discovery inspired me to ask, “Am I myself without mascara or am I really the person others have become accustomed to?” (Rarely I do leave my bedroom, much less the house, without wearing mascara.) It is pretty scary to think about my pale, light-eyed self as being normal. But is mascara what perpetuates my made-up truth?

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