Saturday, January 3, 2009

Winter Nature Walks (a.k.a. a mother self-talks through the PNEU motto to combat her SAD and get her grumpy self outside)

It seems like such a long time ago that I first read Charlotte Mason's recommendation to spend hour upon hour outdoors with my children. It seemed like complete hogwash at the time. Eventually, though, I was won over to the idea and long park days became normal for us. Those "four to six hours" didn't seem nearly as crazed as before.

Now, the bone-chilling days of an Ohio January have arrived and (if I'm very, very honest) I'm reading a few of Miss Mason's passages with that same old incredulity that met with her out-of-doors-life-type advise years ago. That's right.

It is winter. And I don't want to go outside for long hours in winter.


Don't wanna.

We're in the middle of a move, by the way. We've been moving for over a month and all semblance of school lessons or schedules of any sort have just gone ker-phlooey. Usually, I try to make the most of a warmish day here and there in December, but this year we've been packing, and unpacking, and painting, and trying to find someplace for everything. I'm tired and... well, a little grumpy. I can tell that my children are getting stir crazy; their little bodies want to run and jump and climb. These boxes and piles are closing in on them... and me. They don't care that the windchill is below 20 degrees. They don't mind that the sun has been blanketed by endless clouds for days. (No, weeks). They want to be outside.

I know that winter walks can be very pretty. Really, I do. I know that everything stands out more against the winter landscape. The sky is more intense. The shapes of the trees are more noticeable. A little squirrel alone can be a fascinating study. I know it would be good for all of us to get out every day. I just need to do it.


So, I took a look at this week's forecast. Guess what...I'm still feeling incredulous. It's going to be cold. Shock. The little "10 day at a glance thingy" looked like this: "Monday - cold, Tuesday - cold, Wednesday - still cold, Thursday - hello, this is Ohio, Friday - in January, Saturday - still cold, etc." I might as well accept it. It's going to be cold from now through the end of March - at least. I need to buck it up. I need to find a will. Find a way. Find my big wool scarf. What as that helpful motto again?

I am... a child of God. I am also a mama who needs sunshine and needs to get her kiddos outdoors.

I can... obey Him with the power of His Spirit. And I can open the door and go out for a walk because, good grief, how hard is it really?

I ought... because most of my objections are nothing but unreasonable melodrama and because I apparently have a teensy bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder already. We'd all benefit from a decent walk each day, even though (as I've already mentioned) it's cold.

I will... by God's grace ;)

Now comes my big declaration. This week we are going to make an experiment. For this week only (baby steps, right?) we - as in my little self and my four young children - are going to try to take a walk outdoors for 45 minutes every day, Monday through Friday. Since today is Saturday, that's a nice and tidy resolution. Boxes or no boxes, painting or no painting, impending deadline to put our house on the market or no - we're walking!

Okay, unless it's cold and raining - then, maybe not.

Check in on me! All of you dear readers coming through the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival, check and see if I posted on Monday at all. Did we do it? Did we go for our winter walk? Did we go for at least 45 minutes? Did I post pictures of lovely winter things? Did my serotonin levels improve from the time in the sun? Will my next post be far more positive and uplifting?

Let's hope so ;)