You know that feeling when you are running late, and you’re trying desperately to get little kids moving? You are frantically searching for your keys and replying to text messages; they are putting their socks in the fridge. You are pushing the stroller with the baby brother down the street with a purposeful stride; they are poking their fingers into muddy puddles, assessing their temperature. You are on the corner, barking at them to “hurry up!” They are explaining patiently that they need three sticks before they could possibly consider crossing the street.
And then, you know that feeling when you aren’t running late, when your next appointment is a snack or a bedtime still hours in the future, and yet you are still frantically searching for your keys, striding down the street, and barking at your children to “hurry up!”? Our kids must think we are nuts.
I write about environmental science for a living, and I consider myself a pretty big nature fan. When I’m out in a park on an officially nature-centric outing, I am able to slow down, calm down, and really enjoy the flora and fauna, large and small. And my kids get free rein. I soak my feet in the water and watch them peek under rocks and count ladybug spots and identify birds and unsuccessfully beg to pick flowers. But despite actively writing about the importance of seeing nature all around us, about expanding our concern for biodiversity out past the boundaries of our beloved protected areas and into the humanized spaces where we spend much of our lives, I still rush. I rush when I walk alone and I rush my kids down the sidewalk.
So, I tried to stop.