Backyard Memories

Now that spring has sprung, my mind keeps drifting back to happy memories of spending unschooled days in the backyard with my little girl. The backyard is a great place to be because it’s close to the kitchen, the bathroom, and the phone, yet still far enough away from the house and its silently calling chores (“Vacuum me!” “Wash me!” “Please sweep the crumbs off me!”) to allow for a mental and physical vacation.

Many of the things my little girl and I did in the backyard were unplanned. We’d just bring out some fun supplies — crayons or paint, and paper, always paper — and then see what happened.

Sometimes, she’d pluck a leaf from a tree, and I’d do a crayon rubbing of it. Then I’d carefully tear a petal off a dying flower, and she’d do a crayon rubbing of that. Rubbings make you see the awe-inspiring features of nature more clearly. They are truly magical.

Paint makes you feel free. We’d paint on rocks and twigs. We’d paint pictures and tape them to the shed to dry. Having different-sized brushes is very important. Fat brushes and skinny brushes make very different statements. Sometimes, as the pictures dried, the paint would drip, which always improved the overall effect of the painting.

My little girl used to love to find bugs and care for them. She made a part-time job of saving bugs from drowning in our pool, and she rescued many ants from certain death. Throughout her childhood, she nurtured many crickets, pillbugs, and beetles — and one very special leaf-footed bug, who even went on vacation with us once.

The memories are flooding my mind now: kicking a big green ball across the yard, jumping rope, leaping from a moving swing, eating onion grass and wild strawberries, watching the adorable squirrels and the dignified birds.

If you have a little one, and it’s spring where you are, I think you should go outside right now. Do it for me, because my little girl isn’t so little any more.

Our Backyard

Our Backyard

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    sunnymama said,

    We have spent so many days in the garden this spring already and sunnyboy and myself are loving it. I hope we have as wonderful memories of our back yard as you do with your daughter. I’m going to show sunnyboy how to do leaf rubbings soon – I’d forgotten about those! Thanks 🙂

  2. 2

    Karen said,

    My two boys made a ‘bug habitat’ earlier today, and gave a few little buggies quite a home 🙂 Thanks for reminding me that they don’t stay young forever, we’d better enjoy it while we can!

  3. 3

    Carletta said,

    Thank you for the reminder!

  4. 4

    […] sure you check out Susan’s post on Backyard Memories. Don’t forget to make time to paint rocks and nurture […]


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