Describe your first memorable experience exploring and spending time in nature. Were you in awe? Or were you not impressed? Would you rather spend time in the forest or the city?
From birth, all I really knew was nature. I grew up in the middle of nowhere, on 100 acre farm in rural Ontario, in Canada.
Many fields of rocky soil were held within the borders of our land. My dad managed to cultivate a few acres of the soil for agriculture, but the majority was left to be my playground. My after school hours and weekends were spent in my imaginary world, in the best playground a kid could know. There was a field that had small boulders scattered in such a way, that if I hopped just right, I could travel for a good distance, without touching grass. Abandoned farm machinery were props in the imaginary skit of the day. A creek meandered under a bridge just in front of our white farmhouse. The snakes and frogs would be my friends for the day.
My brother had built a cabin in his wild teen days, in a remote spot back in the woods and I was thrilled when I was permitted to go solo, in search of the cabin. The tree house of my youth was six planks of wood nailed precariously between the branches of an old Maple tree. No walls, no roof, but I sure spent tons of hours up there. In the winter, there were always low spots in the fields that seemed to provide natural stating rinks and toboggan runs. When I was old enough to take my bike and disappear for the day, I’d pack a snack and ride for hours, sometimes checking out corner stores miles from home. It was the kind of freedom I am sure the boys felt in Stand By Me.
My youth on the 100 acre farm made me the person I am today. My love of nature came from my days frolicking in the open air, but it also influenced my character and all that I value. It was the best playground going, and I wish more children had the opportunity to just explore and experience nature in its purest form.