The Elegance of Children and Wildflowers

IMG_1852Just a couple of blocks from our house is the community swimming pool where I spent some of my happiest days. The Mount Vernon Recreation Club is where I learned to swim as a child and where I taught swimming lessons as a teenager. As I drive by the pool, I see children in colorful swimsuits splashing, bobbing, and climbing in and out of the water with wild abandon. I smile as I watch them do cannonballs off the diving board shouting, “Woo hoo!”

They remind me of summer’s wildflowers, so natural, sweet, and free. Yellow black-eyed Susan, Queen Anne’s lace, blue bachelor buttons, and purple coneflowers dance in the warm breeze like happy children.

It was Thoreau who told us, “All good things are wild and free.” While I appreciate formal gardens with highly-cultivated flowers, neat hedges, and perfect symmetry, they are more like rigid adults. Adults who tug at their swimsuits, hold in their tummies, and smooth down windblown hair. Adults who are so serious they miss all the fun.

I want to be more like children and wildflowers. They remind me to be more carefree and to accept myself just the way nature intended. They encourage me to stop metaphorically pruning, weeding, and digging in quite so hard. A wildflower grows simply and beautifully, like a child in summertime.

This summer I want to swing high into the air with my feet kicked out and my head tilted back. I want to make a chain of clover and wear it in my hair. I want to lie in the grass and watch my thoughts roll by like fluffy clouds.

Wherever this season leads you, take time to notice children playing at the park, on neighborhood streets, on beaches, and at amusement parks. Be inspired by their curiosity, imagination, and lightheartedness. Let their unguarded laughter and movement take you back to your own childlike nature.

Like flowers, children deserve to freely grow in safe and nurturing environments where they can preserve their bright beauty and fresh innocence for as long as possible. I think adults would more elegantly serve each other and our world if we could regain some of our guileless naivety and childlike wonder.

Pick a wildflower from the woods or roadside ditch and put it in a little vase to be reminded. If the opportunity arises, slip on your swimsuit without any self-criticism. Then run and jump into the cool water with an enthusiastic, “Woo hoo!” §

“Wildflowers are the stuff of my heart!”
~ Lady Bird Johnson

Featured Art ~ Girl in a Field, Ludwig Knaus, 1857

A Summertime Poem ~ “Unplugged”

IMG_1810“Unplugged”

Sit outside in dappled shade
Unplugged from tech and things man-made

Don’t fret the wifi isn’t stronger
This connection lasts much longer

Tick-tock is the sound of time
Spend some in nature and offline

Leave social media behind
Post a picture in your mind

Instead of clicking on that link
Find out what your own heart thinks

Trade television and play stations
For incredible imagination

The cloud is good for storing info
Look up, there is a fluffy hippo

Real flowers smell so sweet
Listen to the birdies tweet

Shooting stars and lightning bugs
We miss it all if we don’t unplug §

By Alicia Woodward

Being Like Children and Wildflowers

On hot summer days, children play in the lake from dawn until dusk. They do cannonballs off the neighbor’s high wooden deck shouting, “Woo Hoo!” They splash around on paddle boards and rafts without a care in the world. They endlessly climb in and out of the water, running, jumping and swimming with wild abandon.

They remind me of wildflowers that grace winding country roads ~ so natural and charming. Yellow black-eyed Susan, Queen Anne’s lace, blue bachelor’s button and purple coneflowers dance and sway in the summer breeze like happy children.

It was Thoreau who told us, “All good things are wild and free.” While I appreciate formal gardens with highly-cultivated flowers, clean lines and perfect symmetry, they are more like rigid adults. Adults who tug at their swimsuits, hold in their tummies and smooth down windblown hair. Adults who are so self-conscience they miss all the fun.

I want to be more like children and wildflowers. They remind me to loosen up a little, to be more carefree, to accept myself just the way nature intended. They encourage me to stop metaphorically pruning, weeding and digging in quite so hard and just be me. After all, I don’t want to be a bonsai tree. I want to be a wildflower.

I want to swing high into the air with my feet kicked out and my head tilted back. I want to make a chain of clover and wear it in my hair. I want to lay in the grass and watch my thoughts roll by like clouds.

Wherever summer leads you, take time to notice children playing at the park, on neighborhood streets, amusement parks and swimming pools. Be inspired by their curiosity, imagination and lightheartedness. Let their unguarded laughter and movement take you back to your own childlike nature.

Like flowers, children deserve to freely grow in safe and nurturing environments where they can preserve their bright beauty and fresh innocence for as long as possible. I think adults would better serve each other and our world if we could regain some of our guileless naivety and authenticity.

This morning I picked a wild daisy from the woods and put it in a little vase in the kitchen. I slipped on my swimsuit without any self-criticism. Then I ran down to the lake and leapt off the dock with an enthusiastic, “Woo Hoo!” §