Weekend Wildness

Sunday, 24 August 2014

"We need the tonic of wildness"
                                                                                                    Henry David Thoreau

Winter's concluding month has been characterised by multiple bouts of illness for our family, and for the past week and a half we've been caring for one especially miserable toddler. The side effects of this run of illness have included a strong case of cabin fever and sleep deprivation for all, as well as a sudden drop-off in our family outdoor adventures [the cumulative impact of which may have just elevated us - ok, me - to borderline crazy status]. 

Prior to this month, our adventures had developed into a weekly tradition; together we would choose a place to explore then set out for a few hours of bush walking. We've discovered natural areas we'd previously just driven by, become active users of Adelaide's conservation and recreation parks, and probably had our most adventurous winter since starting a family. 

The involuntary cold turkey on our weekend nature fix has brought on some major withdrawals and we've certainly missed our tonic of wildness: the fresh air, experiencing natural oases in the urban environment, and the opportunity to engage in what's rapidly become a favourite family activity.

Thankfully by this weekend the health of our little people had improved enough for us to head to a downhill mountain biking spot in Kuitpo Forest  where my husband rides. We hiked the forest path to the top of a large hillside where we were rewarded with sweeping vistas of the countryside before we settled in to cheer Dad on as he hit the downhill trails. 

As he rode, the kids and I sat against the trunk of a large pine and enjoyed a picnic in the forest, listening to the wisha-wisha of the trees and watching the shade of the forest shift as clouds passed rapidly overhead. Wandering back down through the forest the kids delighted in the mass of sticks and pinecones afoot, spotting spider holes, climbing over fallen trees and tracking Dad's path down the bike trail. 

For me, our forest outing brings to mind the words by another renowned naturalist, John Burroughs, who wrote, "I go into nature to be soothed and healed and have my senses put in order". This weekend's wildness has certainly achieved that, helping us find our equilibrium again and proving to be the most enjoyable of tonics we've administered of late. 

1 comment:

  1. Great read Claire, I could almost smell the forest, and could imagine what a wonderful time Ari and Milla had xx mum