What a Little Fresh Air Can Do

As the sun sunk toward the horizon yesterday, my kids played in the backyard with the neighbors.  Oh, friends, it was a glorious display of play: uninhibited digging and running and gathering and exploring.  I loaded the dishwasher overcome with the sweet realization that even their shouting is much more pleasant as it wafts into the house from a distance than when it's coming directly from the room where I'm sitting.

This is what a little fresh air can do.  It shifts perspective.

Nearly all the work that I do on a daily basis, beyond the time I spend in the classroom, involves paperwork and being on the computer.  There's a continual ebb and flow of paperwork (distribute, collect, evaluate, return) and email (check, read, respond). 

Progress is made, of course, but it's mostly indicated by a check on a to-do list.  I think this is why I long for visible progress in other areas in my life, why I take such simple yet profound pleasure in manual tasks like cutting the grass, painting a room, or organizing a closet.  This was once one way; Look, now it's another!

So, yesterday, when the sun was still warm before dinner, I walked through the yard gathering sticks, raking leaves, and cleaning winter debris.  My husband started a fire in our fire pit and we burned brush.  Somehow, as the leaves crinkled and branches smoldered in the fire, I saw life with more clarity.

I wasn't racing the clock, or staring into a screen, or striving in any way.  The physical movement, the sunshine, the dirt under my fingernails, the smell of overturned earth -- all of it -- felt like a gift from God, a reminder that spring arrives, that newness comes, that winters do end, that progress is made.

This is what a little fresh air can do.  It encourages the soul.

Continual confinement within the walls of the house and the cooped-up absorption with small, indoor matters is forgotten when I'm plotting the garden, or noticing the breeze in my hair, or reminding my three-year-old to not jump head-first off the swing set, versus jumping head first off the back of a couch. 

I'm pretty sure that getting outside makes me a better mother and a calmer person. 

This is what a little fresh air can do: everything.

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  1. Oh yes indeed Robin. A little fresh air can turn me from a miserable, hormonal, edgy mess into a calm, reflective, slower, quieter person. I hate the length of winter but spring... its promise of warmth and new life is a delight.

    Such a beautiful, almost poetic posting.

    Wishing you a blessed evening my friend.

    PS - Yes I deleted the previous comment because I used it's instead of its and I can't have that now... can I?! I am such a freak. Sorry. I wish the Blogger commenting system had an editing feature.

    1. I hate typos, too, so no worries at all! Ha!

      "Miserable, hormonal, edgy mess" to a "calm, reflective, slower, quieter person...." that is EXACTLY what I have happen, too. Makes me wonder, how do we even survive being around ourselves in the winter? :)

  2. So true! I made myself take a little while to walk though our neighborhood this morning after I go the kids to school. I had a millions things to do, but I needed to refresh myself mind and it was a beautiful morning!

    1. You are so wise to take the walk, Lisa. Good for you! (I bet that the rest of your morning was even more productive, not less, because of it!)


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