On days like today I’m reminded how my son never wants to go outside. He resists it each and every time that I’ve suggested it, reliable as day turning to night as the sun slides down the sky. It always frustrates me because the outdoors has so much to offer. I ask myself as much as I ask him “why would anyone refuse it?”
The breeze and the sun.
The joy of stopping a fast moving soccer ball before it hits your opponents goal.
The mysticism in breath turning into fog on a cold morning.
The bounty of squirrels and birds busy with their own intentions.
That same cat that comes slinking around the porch at dusk that always makes you wonder if it is going, away from home or towards it. It must have a home right? You think about putting out a bowl of food or water.
And trees. Trees! So many different stories waiting to unfold there in the shade. Or perhaps just a good nap.
Have you ever slept outside?
You really can’t say you have lived unless you’ve slept outside. Exposed and open to every sound. Every star in the sky whispering the dreams they had on the way to greet you in the night. Their big plans for the future.
But he always says “no.”
Tells me he’s in the middle of something or has some excuse or another why not. Too cold. Too hot. Too tired. Too busy.
I try my best to be a good mother and so press a little harder. Coax with promises of fun. Press with my well rehearsed speech about living a balanced life and how important it is. He remains unimpressed. Sometimes he’s looking me in the eye and other times his back is turned.
Sometimes I let it go. And other times I conjure ultimatums. I push to the point he really has no choice. He follows me out the door, slumped shouldered and angry. I can feel his eyes burning the back of my head.
A half an hour later we are speaking to each other in British accents and laughing. We could be walking the block or, if we’re really lucky there’s a snow covered hill and we have our sled disks with us and we can get a rush from sliding down backwards. Maybe we carry our tennis rackets to the court to volley for a bit or, if it’s a hot day, we might sit by the side of the pool with our feet dipped in.
At least I imagine that’s how it would be if he followed me outside. Each and every time I’ve convinced him, he tries hard to resist letting it show that he’s having a good time until finally he gives in. He says something outrageous and I reply with “bloody hell!”
I know it is in his nature to resist but I also know, that even if he will refuse to admit it, these are the good times we’ll both remember. That he had fun when he finally gave in.
Today, for whatever reason, I was resisting my own plan to spend the day outside. Grumbling at myself as I rolled out of bed that I had promised my Sunday to the Sunshine. With no good reason why.
On days like today I need to remember how wonderful life can be, if we just open the doors and let it breathe.
It was a good day; a satisfying day. And I got to meet the grandmother chinquapin oak tree, not too far off the beaten path. Jack says the tree predates white man being in the area. That means that the tree is older than my heritage in America. That’s an old tree.
I’ve got more to say about my outing today, but it did wear me out a wee bit and I’d like to just sleep on all my thoughts a little.
Perhaps there will be more tomorrow. Perhaps not.