I am one of those people who can go barefoot all day and love it. My husband calls me a hippie, but I simply love the feeling of the earth beneath my feet. Growing up, I had a very free, outdoorsy childhood. My parents have a good-size backyard with plenty of trees, where adventures were waiting for us everywhere. Our television was rarely on before 8 pm (we were allowed just one hour a day), and even then we hardly watched it. We never had the latest toys or gadgets and we barely ever noticed. We didn’t have cable or video games to fill the hours. We had our imaginations and that was always enough.
With four sisters, we were often left alone to entertain ourselves and it was never a problem. I used to race through our house chores just to get outside faster each day. Building blanket forts, reading books under our shaded cherry tree, creating our own games, writing and acting out plays, practicing sports, camping out at night, riding our bicycles – most of my days were spent outside doing whatever we could come up with. We ran around all day barefoot and free, often times filthy by the time my mom would call us all in for our evening showers.
My father grew-up on a farm so at home we were in charge of planting, watering, weeding and hoeing our large garden. That meant wonderful, delicious fresh vegetables all summer long. While we grumbled about the chore of weeding in the hot summer sun, I remember looking forward to feeling the soft dirt between my toes. I loved eating warm cherry tomatoes right off the vines, not even bothering to wash them before popping one into my mouth. Germs and dirt meant very little to me. I remember the taste of the warm juices in my mouth and it was the perfect treat for a long afternoon of weeding. It was always quiet, peaceful work, although it wasn’t our favorite way to spend a wide open summer day.
Living in a suburban development now, I miss having a large backyard to get lost in. I miss running around barefoot. I think about today’s society and the way children are being raised and I so badly want my daughter to have a similar experience as I did. Where it didn’t matter what was on tv that day, what the latest trends where, what the coolest video games were, or even if your clothes matched in the morning. I want her growing up outside like I did – falling in love with trees and animals, eating tomatoes right off the vine and letting her imagination dictate her day.
Live green, love green.