As I was preparing for the week last night and flipping through the winter curriculum from Lavender's Blue Homeschool, I ran across a page titled Purposeful Work. In my haste, though, I read it as "purposeful walk". This phrase, mistaken as it was, stuck with me through today. As we bundled up to head outside for a bit of (very) fresh air, I wondered how we could get into the headspace to enter the outside world with purpose when our main goal was just to, well, say we went outside.
Funny, though, if we open our eyes to the wonder of nature and Mother Earth, that in itself is purpose. We hadn't even made it to the corner when our breath was taken away by the haunting beauty of the tree branches covered in prickly-looking, but delicate and intricate frost. Our ears were treated to the rare sound of a jay's call and we caught a glimpse of the large blue bird as it was making its rounds of the neighbourhood.
Even though I was surrounded by the rambunctiousness of my seven-year-old and the sorrowfulness of my toddler, I felt of hush of peace come over me. My son felt it too, I think. It was like seeing the world for the first time, even though we've traveled the same streets by foot hundreds of times. There's always something to appreciate, whether it be something novel (like the jay) or something familiar, like the tall spruce trees that sway and creak and moan in the strong winds yet remain firmly rooted in the earth.
And that is why our morning walks and our outside time are so important to our days. Besides the space to burn off some excess energy, they allow us to soak up all the wonder of nature, if we're open to it. If we walk out the door with the questions, "What will we see today? What surprises await us if we only open our senses to them?", we've walked out the door with purpose. Our walks allow us to deepen our connection to the earth and to the seasons. They allow us to surrender to the fact that the seasons do indeed change, with each being wildly different and uniquely beautiful and necessary. They allow us to be reverent to all living things, both growing and dormant. They allow our hearts to open a bit more when, at times, there is an overwhelming desire to close them tightly and hide away. They give us the opportunity to learn...understand...appreciate what could never be done justice in a book or a lecture. They connect us, in an indescribable way, to those who walked the earth before us and those who will inherit it long after we are gone and who have or will experience the same awe and wonder.
I vow not to shudder when donning my winter gear tomorrow.