Dirt Time

While researching and producing Mother Nature’s Child, I realized it would be a good idea to examine my own relationship to nature. In the fall of 2008, I attended a “Spirit and Nature” retreat at Shelburne Farms, a stunningly beautiful outdoor education center on the Vermont shore of Lake Champlain. Over the course of five days and nights, we explored our connection to the natural world on many levels. Through a surprising range of exercises and experiences, four remarkable mentors introduced us to the natural history of the land where we were staying, offered us the practice of beginning each day outside alone at our individually selected “sit spot”, taught us how to start a fire with a bow drill, and to use our senses and instincts to track and explore. We spent time walking the land under a full moon and learning from each other’s nature experience. Perhaps most importantly, we re-learned how to play in the woods! (Here are a few of us after a particularly wild session.) If we hope to help counteract “nature deficit disorder” in our children, it makes sense to first explore our own relationship to the natural world. Waking up the child within is the fun first step!

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