Lately I seem to flit between several books, seldom reading anything from cover to cover before getting distracted by life. A friend lent me The Geography of Childhood for the summer, and since I have to give the book back, I thought this would be a welcome invitation to change my ways. I will read the book cover to cover, but have to admit that I am reading four others at the same time. Not sure I am retaining much, but this pattern seems to mirror the general character of life with the boys. Nonetheless, what I am reading is hitting home as we find ourselves in wilder spaces out on the mesa.
The book is a collection of essays written by several naturalists. These aren’t your garden variety, field-guide-toting naturalists. These guys are naturalists not by hobby, but by birth. Naturalists that recognize in their bones, not in their head, that a connection to land and creatures is essential for intellectual, emotional and spiritual well-being. And though there is no shortage of scientific research to support these mens’ ideas, they cast aside data for anecdotal evidence of the inherent need for a connection to wilderness in every child. They draw upon their experiences as children, parents and teachers. Couple that with a strong foundation in theory and you have a moving and compelling call for prioritizing a child’s development amongst wild places.