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2018 Mar

Leaves of Green

As I look out my window, a gray world looks back at me. Bare branches, dripping with rain, a slate-colored sky, and a stillness that makes me think time has come to a halt. I guess I have the wintertime blues. I feel restless, thinking about all the warm-weather activities I love—boating, swimming, biking, and hiking—and spring seems like a distant dream.

But then I see a glimmer of hope. Have you ever noticed how tree branches give off a subtle glow right before the buds appear? Tints of maroon and gold, almost like an aura, emanate from the branches. I always look for the tree glow this time of year. When I see it, I know that winter’s days are numbered.

Another herald of spring is the return of the robins, and happily I saw a flock of them on a sunny day recently. Robins always looks so joyful, as if they too are thrilled that spring is near.

Have you talked to your kids about the four seasons? Now’s the perfect time to remind them to pay attention to the changing world around us. And what a world it is. Spring reminds us of rebirth and the continuity of life. It connects us to nature and to the generations of people who have come before us and who will follow in our footsteps.

Talking with your child about nature and sharing the wonder of our world inspires an appreciation for beauty, stillness, and tranquility. And in this here-today-gone-tomorrow world we live in, connecting with nature helps us all feel grounded.

This month we share stories of young people who are connecting with horses, learning to overcome their fears and gaining self-esteem in the process. We also bring you our 2018 Summer Fun Guide, which continues through June, featuring a slew of summer camps, many promising outdoor adventure and the chance for your children to commune with nature.

But don’t wait until summer—start today. Take a winter walk in the woods or along the shore and talk about the clouds in the sky, the birds that migrate through our region, and the way you feel about the changing seasons. Teaching your children to talk about feelings and share abstract thoughts and concepts will help them communicate better as they grow into adulthood. It also lets them know you care about who they are inside.

Take a break from technology this month and, together with your kids, commune with the wide, wonderful world around us. Breathe deeply, count the robins, and watch the tree buds turn into flowers and then unfurl into fresh leaves of green. A new year is born, and all we have to do is watch breathlessly.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and co-publisher of Tidewater Family and Tidewater Women magazines. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com