Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How To Live

Lately I find myself living more and more the way I want to be living. After what feels like a year of pure struggle (joyful, but so hard), the high-alert stage of providing constant care to a baby is giving way to the slightly more relaxed beginning stages of parenting a child. 

I know that is not the way everyone experiences it. So many people have told me that it just gets harder and harder as babies get older and start moving around, but for me it's been the opposite. Now that my son can walk, we both have so much more independence. 

Nate OK Photo
It's not just that I'm starting to get my self back. It's also the life my husband and I are designing together. Like any couple celebrating their second anniversary, we have a long way to go before we're even close to our dream life. But we're dreaming, and we're living. 

I am so grateful for Nate's and Koan's personalities, pushing me to do things that I never got around to much on my own. We go on family outings. To the beach. Camping. Trips to nearby islands on our bikes. Hikes and bike rides through forest trails. We eat wild plants. We grow vegetables. We get wet. We get dirty. It feels so clean.

Erin OK Photo
I believe that everyone has a natural affinity for connecting with the natural environment around them. It's rejuvenating. It puts things in perspective. It's fulfilling. It makes you feel healthy and free. But in our culture, so many of us grow up without nurturing that connection, and miss out on that perspective and rejuvenation in our daily lives. 

Koan has been telling me quite clearly since he was born that the way I was used to living was not right. There is no way he would let me go back to school and spend my life indoors, staring into books and computers. He will cry and fuss all the time unless we spend hours a day outside and active. And actually, his dad is quite similar. He suffers and withers and casts a gloomy shadow over everything unless he can walk and run and climb and bike in a real ecosystem on a regular basis. Naturally, our relationship deepens when I join him. And so does my satisfaction with life.

Erin OK Photo
So I have spent this summer listening to my heart, to my family members, and to the cues of the season. I'm trying to do so much, and it's not as easy as I'd like. But when I'm staring out at the ocean, breathing tree air, and picking berries with my son, I feel like I'm getting it right. And when I'm following my husband up and down hills to some ordinary natural wonder or another, I think we are already there.

Nate OK Photo

Summer is such a fruitful time to connect with the natural world! How have you been doing it?