Notice in these continuing excerpts from Vermont student essays a common theme: the sense of freedom and peace associated with being outdoors.
“Being outside is different from being inside. This is because when you are inside you feel like a cheetah in a cage, trapped,” begins Pomfret School sixth grader Kaelan Heston.
“When you are indoors, you are confined in a barrier of walls, continues classmate Jocelyn Hewitt. “People are enclosed from the life that lies just feet away….”
Pomfret classmate Jack Greene summarized his feelings in a poem:
Where the wind whistles,
Where nothing is man made,
Where you can run freely in the forest,
Where the sun shines brightly through tree leaves,
And brooks run smoothly, twisting and turning through the world,
Where you have nothing to worry about,
Where the birds sing their songs of glory,
This is nature.
Several children mentioned the sense of peace and calm they feel outside. In these stressful times when children are often tightly scheduled, we all might take note:
“It’s a place where I can concentrate. It’s a place where I can be still. It’s a place where I can be calm,” says Ellen White of the Edge Academy. Classmate Hollie Parks elaborates, “The outdoors is the best place for me to think. I just like listening to the animals around me and listening to the peace and quiet around me. I do most of my best thinking outdoors. My favorite thing to do when I am outside is just sit or stand and feel the breeze. I love the wind – my favorite thing about nature. Nature helps me cool off, helps me relax.
Jocelyn Hewitt continues, “Peace is a big part of nature, being able to sit quietly and enjoy the unique chirping of the birds, the slow rumbling crash of the brook as it thunders around the bend. When you are inside, that is something you and only imagine about…. When you are outdoors you feel the realness, the sense that everything around you is alive. The trees blowing in the wind, the grass a rippling sea across the plain. When I am outdoors I feel alive, a different sort of feeling than when I am indoors.”
Says Edge Academy classmate Nathan Watts: ”I believe that ‘Mother Nature’s Child’ refers to someone who realizes how important nature is, how relaxing it is, how liberating, it’s astounding. When I’m feeling stressed, I go outside. Almost instantly, I am completely calm.”
“If every day were an outside day” writes thirteen year old Edge Academy student Rose Monahan, “I would never be sad again. When you’re outdoors, everything is different. The air is cleaner. The sun is warmer. Everything is heightened and better. When I’m outdoors, I’m happier. I can think better. When I’m outdoors, I can run. I feel free, like I can just do and go. No rules, no waiting, and NO florescent lights. When I’m inside, it’s different. There isn’t enough air, and everything is cramped. Out doors, there is lots of space. Room for everyone to be able to relax, instead of people being grumpy and snapping at each other. Inside, everyone knows everything, and there is no room for personality. If life went my way, everyone would go outside everyday. We would be a happier, healthier population.”
Choe Lemmel-Hay, 12, from The Edge Academy summarized her thoughts in a poem:
Walking through the woods with a camera and notebook on hand; What could be more relaxing?
Sitting by a tree taking pictures of ferns; What could make me feel more whole?
Wading in a brook with lily pads and water bugs; What on earth could make me feel more alive?
And then there’s the night…
Stay tuned for children’s complaints about nature!