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Posts Tagged ‘wild’

From time to time I hear about a growing interest in play areas that focus less on safety and more on creativity and fending for yourself. Safety has always been important to me, but maybe children (grownups, too) get in more trouble when they leave the safety issues to authorities. Maybe there’s something to be said for learning to handle tricky situations by being in tricky situations.

In any case, woodland nursery schools, wild parks, and junky playgrounds are getting attention.

Amy Fusselman, adapting her book Savage Park for the Atlantic, describes her family’s reaction to a wild park in Japan.

“As the eight of us walked, first up a slight dirt hill, then past a gaggle of unlocked bicycles, we smelled it: smoke. The smell became stronger as we went ahead. We followed it until at last we were all standing beside a traditional Japanese hut that was perched atop a downward-sloping one-acre patch of dirt and trees.

“The hut’s front porch was completely overflowing with crap, including a pink-painted piano at which a girl, five, was sitting and playing a John Cage-ian ditty. It was a strangely radiant sound to be hearing as we stood there looking down through the smoke—we could see it as well as smell it now—to the smoke’s source: open fires.

“There were three of them. At one, a boy about eight years old was kneeling, poking at the flames with paper fans; at another, a father was sitting and roasting marshmallows with his toddler son. A third fire seemed to be unattended. …

“We stood there, dumbfounded, staring at the dirt and trees and the structures that were woven around and between them, structures that were clearly not made in any place where safety surfacing had ever been a subject of serious discussion. These were structures that looked like what remained when my sons decided to build an airport out of Legos and then abandoned the project halfway through, only these half-made baggage carts and control towers were much larger and crafted not from nicely interlocking plastic rectangles but from scraps of wood and nails. …

“At one point, I looked up at the trees. I was astonished to see that there were children in them. The more I looked, the more children I saw. There were children 15 feet high in the air. …

“I sat on a log, eating warm, white gooey marshmallows. The park was around us, and the trees were around us, and the dirt was around us, and the smoke, and the music. The children were in the trees, and were flying in the air. We stayed there as long as we could.”

More here.

Photo: Associated Press

 

 

 

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Photo: clickalps.com

Go to Bored Panda to see adorable mouse photographs collected by Skirmantė that could come straight from Beatrix Potter. Two Bad Mice, anyone?

Wikipedia’s entry on the children’s book author and naturalist says, “Born into a wealthy Unitarian family, Potter, along with her younger brother Walter Bertram (1872–1918), grew up with few friends outside her large extended family. Her parents were artistic, interested in nature and enjoyed the countryside. As children, Beatrix and Bertram had numerous small animals as pets which they observed closely and drew endlessly. …

“Beatrix was educated by three able governesses, the last of whom was Annie Moore (née Carter), just three years older than Beatrix … She and Beatrix remained friends throughout their lives and Annie’s eight children were the recipients of many of Potter’s delightful picture letters. It was Annie who later suggested that these letters might make good children’s books.

“In their school room Beatrix and Bertram kept a variety of small pets, mice, rabbits, a hedgehog and some bats, along with collections of butterflies and other insects which they drew and studied. Beatrix was devoted to the care of her small animals, often taking them with her on long holidays.”

I visited her home in the Lake District with my husband, and I read a biography of her. Like many girls of her time and social stature, she was a lonely child. But her creative genius filled her world with fully realized imaginary companions. And she seems to have had a satisfying adulthood preserving land in the Lake District and pursuing her natural history interests.

[Asakiyume: Thanks for putting the lead on Facebook.]

Photo: Miroslav Hlavko

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