Friday, July 18, 2008

The Value of Being Outside

Being outside is a topic that I've spent a lot of time thinking about this summer. I've always been extremely fond of being outside but I think having a small child, who is at a very impressionable age, is what has spurred my recent string of thoughts on the matter.

Tonight I was asking myself "what is it about being outside that is so great?". I think this one picture gives all the reasons:

There's nothing quite like watching a small child run carefree, full of excitement, and having the best time of their life. It's really made me sit back and ponder how it is that people (including myself) spend way too much time hanging out indoors. We have become complacent and willing to just sit inside our climate-controlled homes, buildings, cars, etc. instead of getting outside and enjoying what this world has to offer. As I sat on our front lawn playing with Penelope for probably 2 hours tonight I stopped to look at what was around, just outside our door. The most striking view is Mt. Olympus (not to mention the small nursery across the street that is always abloom with flowers):

Then looking north up our street our neighbors have some big trees and more views of the Wasatch Mountains:

I feel that people sometimes forget it can be as simple as stepping out your front (or back) door. The power of being outside enables you to run free. You aren't confined by the size of your room or the size of your house. The only things that confine you are your will and imagination. You can interact with nature face-to-face, you get the real effect and as a result it effects you. You can't get that through a TV or a computer screen.

If Penelope and I would have played inside tonight we would have played with some toys, maybe would have read some books, or just sat around. Being outside Penelope was able to explore, she was able to run, unconfined. I enjoyed the beautiful evening, just sat and relaxed, undistracted. We made up a game where we ran around in circles screaming and then we'd suddenly fall down. There's no room inside to run in circles (especially for me) and screaming inside is way too loud. Here's a short, shaky video (Penelope made me run too) of our game:

Tonight was just another experience that helps to solidify my beliefs and opinions on being outside. Think back to some of most fun, most memorable experiences as a child, I bet you were outside.

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