The Magic of Dirt and Leaves

The effect that nature has on Shaelyn and Davia is uncanny.  It’s like magic.  I mean, most people probably respond to nature to some degree or another, because fresh air and sunshine are good for us, and trees and flowers are pretty.  But this thing that happens in Shaelyn and Davia when you get them outside and into the dirt and trees is crazy.  Like they were fish out of water before.  Like they breathe dirt.  (Well, sometimes they pretty much do breathe dirt.)  But it’s really amazing, how much happier and relaxed they are out there.  They’re almost like different kids.  They can go from being total grumps, fighting and sassy and scowling at everyone, to practically glowing with joy.

Davia, on a nature exploring outing with her grandma and sister


Shaelyn, on outing with Bubba and Davia










Lauren (who we’re lucky enough to have a visit from right now) and I took the big girls and the baby to Hoyt Arboretum in Portland yesterday.  The day had not been going so well for S and D.  They were crabby as could be and just having a really hard time.  But the second we got out of the car and their feet touched the dirt and they were surrounded by trees, they turned into little rays of sunshine, enjoying their experience with a love and an enthusiasm that I’m pretty sure would rub off on anyone who saw them.

Enjoying fall at the Hoyt Arboretum in Portland


For their birthday, Lauren got them these really neat nature journals, where they can record their discoveries.  A perfect gift for these girls, who seem to be endlessly fascinated with the natural world, reveling in the discovery of each and every bug, leaf or stone they find.

a sneak peak into Davia's nature journal

They seem to get so much satisfaction from these discoveries and seem to have a never-ending attention span when it comes to learning about nature.  Whether birding with their Grandpa Jim or reading the giant visual encyclopedia of the natural world their Bubba (Grandma Mary) gave them recently, they never get bored.  They just eat it up.  And the joy they get from it is all over their face and in their voice and their body language, so that it’s totally contagious.

So if you’re ever hanging out with Shaelyn and Davia, and they’re being grumpy, or if you ever want to be inspired and have your own sense of awe awakened, take those girls into the woods or a meadow or down by a creek, and watch what happens.  I’m telling you, it’s magical.


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