first child in the woods

Another year, another birthday....So strange how it's all rushing out from under us. The things I love in life are so ephemeral, it's hard to remember how precious life is, until I or someone I love has a birthday, or someone I love dies, or our little one says something we didn't know she knew was capable of thinking or saying. Like when we walk outside in the fall light and she says "it's beau-ful." Or when she watches Spirit Ship and says,
I want children right now.
Painting somepin inside.
Rainbow, rainbow, yes!
So just when my hope is faltering, these sweet words bring me back and make it all okay. And I remember that we are living inside a gift.

So I wanted to post something to honor the adventures we've had this year, in the outdoors . . . All too often M and I only went as far as our own ridiculously urban concrete courtyard (Oh Mommy, she must wonder, why do you have so much work? and I answer, it's for the children, for the children. Which children? She wonders . . . I'm a girl, right Mommy, what about me?), but thankfully we experienced some sun-dappled grace throughout the year. And it all makes me wonder, Have we really come to the Last Child in the Woods, as Richard Louv proposed in his book? For once let's see the glass as half full (I'm talking to myself here, with end-of-year resolutions and such) and let's imagine that we're the very First Child in the woods. It's wonderful to be there, light dappling through, crickets chirping, leaves falling. It's so good to be alive.

This last image is a reminder of the artists who do great work to bring the outside in. When we cannot be out there, we can at least honor the outside and reveal aspects of it that invoke a sense of reverence and help us to see the beauty of life and living more fully. So this is Roxy Paine's mushroom world at James Cohen Gallery this fall. And further above you see Patrick Dougherty's work at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden....a fairy house built of sticks, which is up for a year for all ages to run through with all abandon and mystery. This is the stuff....

And just to remember the Little Creatures, the bush babies of the world, here's one more message from "M-Nolia" to take us on our way:
No cryin

No tears coming out
'Pecial treat M-Nolia and a bush baby

M-Nolia's bush baby