By Dr. Paula Bloom
Last weekend was the first Spring-like weather of the year. It was beautiful. Crisp, yet sunny. Like so many things in life, I tend to appreciate the beautiful only in contrast to the not-so-beautiful. I grew up in year-round warm weather, so spending time cooped up in the house is new for me. This year I realized just how much being indoors affected my mood. Next year I hope to be willing to go outdoors even when it’s very cold (well, very cold for a Floridian now living in Atlanta.)
One thing I miss living in a landlocked place is the ocean. There is a certain spirit and energy that water brings to a place. I can’t quite describe it but I know it when I feel it. My family is still in Florida so a few times a year I get to recharge by walking along the beach.
When I’m unable to be near a large natural body of water I search for ways to connect with it. Warm baths, pools and hot tubs are wonderful. They give me a sense of peace and calm. I wonder if it’s somehow related to the comfort and safety we all feel in the womb.
Our relationship to water seems hard-wired and primitive. Most people find the sound of waves soothing. I don’t know many children who can resist jumping in a puddle. Some of the best times I’ve shared outdoors with my kids involve water.
One warm rainy day my kids were driving me a bit crazy. It had rained for many days in a row and we all started feeling cabin fever. The kids asked if they could play in the rain and my first response was “no.” After a few minutes I asked myself, “why not?” It isn’t a storm, there’s no lightning. We all put on bathing suits, rain boots and carried umbrellas. I watched my kids play in the puddles and was reminded of all the times I was told, “no, you’ll ruin your shoes.” It gave me pause and I smiled. Even then I realized how important shoes are to what we allow ourselves to experience.
This past weekend we threw on our outdoor sport sandals (I have an old pair of Teva’s) and went to a park. We planned on bike riding but then, as we walked through a forest, we came across a creek. Instantly, my son asked if he could explore. And we did. We walked along the rocks, threw pebbles and enjoyed the sounds of the water flowing. At the end we jumped up and down and splashed each other. Even the shallowest of water gave me a deep sense of connection. My battery is now recharged. I’m so grateful for Spring!
Were you allowed to jump in puddles as a kid? How do you mark the Spring?