The warm days of spring are the best. Since the early part of April (and maybe even March) Aidan excitedly discarded his winter apparel and has been clad in nothing but shorts and sandals, and all he wants to do is spend time outside–exploring the backyard and digging in the dirt and uncovering all kinds of things of nature. Today was definitely this type of day. We spent a good portion of the day off the beaten track in a local forest preserve. We found a creek bed where Aidan happily took off his sandals and plunged his feet into the oozing mud and then waded in the pebbly creek and climbed on fallen trees. He was in his own paradise! And even when we came home he made his own little mud bath spa on the side of our house. It is these kind of days that take me back to a time in my own youth, specifically to the time spent up in [singlepic=594,325,325] Me at 6yrs old, Aidan’s current ageWisconsin at our cottage by the Rock River. It’s funny how memories work, I can picture certain things so clearly–the sights and sounds even the smells; but other things are just muddy, vague images that fleet in and out of my mind.

The inside of our cottage is like that for me. I can remember certain areas of it. I remember the brightly lit kitchen with it’s large windows overlooking the river and the smells and gurgles of the old fashion peculator brewing coffee for all the adults. But other areas of the inside I can hardly recall. What did the bathroom look like, were there two or three bedrooms–I just cannot remember. It’s when these memories escape me that I especially wish my parents were around still so I can ask them how things really were. But in the end I guess I have to trust in my own vision of how things were.

What I do remember the most about my time at the cottage is being outside and enjoying nature and feeling connected to the earth. I remember walking barefoot on our property, running down the hill from the gravel road, hiking on the trails and in the woods, fishing with my dad, and picking wild berries with my mom and my “aunt” (she wasn’t a blood relative aunt, but one of those family friends that was so close that you just called her aunt). I remember running and jumping off the pier and swimming with my cousins in the rocky river. I can still smell the bonfires and taste the roasted marshmallows. (It’s no wonder that one of my favorite all time smells is the smell of leaves burning and this is due to autumns at the cottage.) I remember the huge trees all throughout our land and the one that held my swing and the smaller ones that I climbed. I remember exploring the abandoned A-frame on the top of the hill (at least my cousins and I thought it was abandoned). So many memories and so much fun.

When I am reminded of these memories I find myself wanting similar experiences for Aidan. I want him to have an expansive area to just explore and feel free to roam. He is definitely my nature boy and my tree hugger and I want him to really feel this connection to the earth and to all of nature.