Enjoying the Simple Joys of Spring
“Tess! Tess!” my four year-old nephew shouted.“The mud, it’s changed, it’s changed to dirt!”
Over the past month, my four nephews and I have been exploring my parents’ backyard. Every day we discover new life, with my twin nephews usually leading the expedition. Together, we discovered that the spring thaw revealed very hungry goldfish in the pond (feeding them is a daily event), green frog tadpoles, green frogs that jumped when we got close to investigate, an American toad, redback salamanders, birds and bugs of all kinds.
One afternoon, one of the twins came running to tell me he no longer needed his rubber boots, because the mud was now dirt and he could wear his tennis shoes. On another occasion, one of them asked to go outside for a while by himself. From the window, I watched as he put on his rubber boots and leisurely strolled around the yard with his hands held behind his back. It made me smile that he was enjoying being in nature.
Every time we are together, the boys want to explore the backyard, and I always accept the adventure. And any chance I get to teach about the simple joys of the outdoors, I do. People of all ages can become interested and eager to learn new things about nature just by seeing a new flower or butterfly for the first time. Nature is all around us. We just need to take it from my nephew: slow down for a minute and leisurely stroll through the woods, hands behind our back, and take it all in.
Tess Jaeger, Naturalist