Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I Love Nature

I love nature, I do, although I usually just call it outdoors. 

I sometimes envy teachers who work in forest schools or those who teach in places adjacent to bush or farm land or even just large wooded parks. I'd enjoy spending my time with children in those places, splashing in streams, hanging from branches, and learning to avoid the poison ivy.

But I don't. When we walk outside our gates the "nature" we find is the city and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I don't know when I became a city boy, but I am, right through to the tips of my toes. 

The children I teach didn't chose, but their parents did, opting not for suburbia or a rural life, landing like I have in the concrete jungle, a natural habitat for humans, a place where we have come together, packing ourselves ever more tightly, side-by-side and one atop another, sharing, growing upward instead of outward in the environment-killing habit of the urban sprawl that rings us. 

For me, cities are about hope, about loving and trusting our fellow man, places of cooperation and agreements and engaging with our differences.

This is where we have chosen to raise our children. And it's from this environment, these uniquely human communities, that our curricula must arise. 

"Nature" for us is air perfumed with restaurant food and exhaust, a terrain of pavement, stairs and curbs, and an underbrush hiding bottle caps, broken glass, and cigarette butts. It's cars, trains, buses, trams, bikes, and the two shoes upon our feet.

Nature is squirrels, crows, and the occasional raccoon, along with the rats we rarely see, but know are there. Nature is hum and rush and honks and grit.

And there are people, lots of people; people of every size, shape, background and color, sometimes thronging, sometimes misbehaving, sometimes loving, but always agreeing to somehow live together, close together, which is the true beauty of our outdoors.

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1 comment:

Lisa said...

Hope you enjoy Melbourne while you are here! The weather is just coming into spring so good timing.
I work in the central business district but I love being able to escape my grey cubicle for a lunchtime run along the Yarra riverbank, passing cafes, ducks, cyclists, children playing and so on. I think it's the liveliness of outdoors (whether natural or man-made) that's invigorating compared to the sameness inside of a corporate building.