Again, We Saunter
(partial Excerpt from Nov 2017 post)
I always look forward to a hike. Being outdoors, breathing fresh air, seeing the mountains or the bay in the background… and the physical workout. I love that part.
I often take my kids with me, and they’re generally game, though they’d much prefer to “meander” rather than “hike.” They like to pause, take detours, touch things, notice things.
John Muir said it best:
"Hiking - I don't like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains - not hike! Do you know the origin of that word 'saunter?' It's a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, 'A la sainte terre,' 'To the Holy Land.' And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them." (Albert W. Palmer’s “The Mountain Trail and Its Message” )
And to be honest, I am a little more interested in sauntering these days, myself. With shelter-in-place and social distancing, those forest hikes and views of the bay are a little less accessible. Instead, my kids and I meander through our neighborhood. Three times a week, we take a morning “wake up walk” and often another later in the day for a break from school-at-home or working from home.
As a result, we are getting to know the nooks and crannies of our neighborhood like never before. The grass in between bricks, the blooming iceplant, and the fragrant jasmine. The tree swing, the hawk’s nest, and the ubiquitous rosemary. We are noticing, enjoying, taking detours in our little part of this world.
And April 24th, we’ll be participating in the 2020 BioBlitz (thanks, California Natural Resources Agency) and this weekend we’ll help in the City Nature Challenge 2020 (thanks, California Academy of Sciences), both of which encourage students and families to be “citizen scientists” and help document the biodiversity in their neighborhoods.
What a great way to saunter!
A Happy Earth Day note from our YMCA Camp Jones Gulch
Another great way to saunter, notice nature & celebrate Earth Day? Bring a notebook and pen to enjoy Xander’s "I notice, I wonder, it reminds me...” Activity from camp: