Appreciating Nature When You’re Eight

I was walking through our neighborhood this afternoon with my eight year old, and realized that I was stomping from one crunchy fallen autumn leaf to the next.

Will I always do that?

I asked my eight year old, “How old are you when you stop automatically stepping on the crunchy leaves?”

“I don’t know. I don’t step on the crunchy leaves,” he grinned. “I like jumping in the piles.”

Maybe we are never too old to crunch the leaves. We just know how much it will hurt when our old bones hit the bottom of the piles.

Later that night, I could hear him through our open door, impressing his Dad with his knowledge of football while I watched the dog outside. The moon was almost full and clouds moved through its light. And I wondered, how old will my eight year old be when he first notices how spectacular that is.

And then I remembered how he and the other boys in his class watched the clouds approaching Chief Mountain on a third grade hike last week (“God, please don’t rain on us! We love you!” and “Doesn’t that cloud look like a T-Rex?”), or how my boys cheered on the lightning during our last nighttime storm (“Yesssss! That was awesome!”).

Maybe we are never too young to celebrate nature. We are just much louder, more wild in our appreciation.

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