I've noticed something about myself in the last few years - I have a craving to be outside. Make no mistake, this is no fitness craving. This is no desire to go run several miles, although I do acknowledge that would be good for me. No, sometime in the last three years I've found myself having the urge to go outside, to breath deeply, to let the quiet surround me.
I think I can trace the origin of this to my dog, Rosie. We had a great golden retriever, Bally, for 14 years. We lost her in 2014. In 2015 a friend asked if we wanted to adopt her one year old King Charles Cavalier, Rosie. We quickly agreed. While a low maintenance dog in some respects, she does crave a walk each morning. And so each morning finds Rosie and me trotting down our sidewalk on a leisurely morning walk of about a mile long.
I love these walks for the most part. They've taught me to look for the sunrise, to listen to the birds, to breathe in the air. I notice the change in the seasons more. I certainly have grown to appreciate my warm coat in the winter months, but I hurry out before the heat of the day in the summer. Rosie is not a good leash walker - when she sees other dogs she lunges, barking like a dog three times her size. While she sounds fierce, she really just wants to go play.
A few weeks ago I reflected on this daily habit of mine. The walk centers me, my heart rate relaxes. I feel wide awake and ready to begin my day after being outside for just a bit of time. Looking at my class that Monday morning I reflected - do these seventh graders get outside each day? I wondered. That day I made an announcement as it came to me in class. Each Monday we were going to head outside to do our quick write in the great outdoors. Bring their coats - we were heading out. I didn't care what they wrote, only that they wrote. They looked at me a bit skeptical, but they are a willing bunch, and we headed out behind our school.
We've just wrapped up our fourth week of writing outside on Mondays. The kids like the change of scenery and I do too. I center myself below the hill, look over kids spread in every direction, take in a breath, and smile as I grab my notebook and scribble inside. There truly isn't anything better than this.
Slice of Life is a challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.