Monday, October 19, 2009

Nature’s Symphony

The Motherhood Muse welcomes this guest post from Julie Steed, who writes from Emerging Author.

The summers in Georgia are hot. When I was a kid, my upstairs bedroom with no air conditioning was especially hot. I did a lot of sweating and I kept a fan going at all times. I also did a lot of listening. Tree frogs would sing me to sleep while chirping birds served as my alarm clock. I hated it.

Now my house (and even my parent’s) is temperature controlled and well insulated from the weather. I sleep in a bedroom with closed windows. A ceiling fan runs overhead and I cannot hear the noise pollution from the street outside. My alarm clock wakes me. I hate it.

What is my problem? Now that I am older, I want to hear those sounds from my childhood. More than that, I want my children to hear those sounds, too. Luckily, I have a way to expose the girls to nature without exposing my body to uncomfortable temperatures.

My husband and I were avid backpackers before our girls were born. Now we choose to camp in our pop-up. I love our little camper. It keeps us dry in the rain and the warmth of the heater keeps us comfortable in the winter. And it is our connection to nature.

Lying in the camper, the childhood sounds of the outdoors come rushing back—and I get to share those sounds with my girls. We hear the normal sounds of birds, squirrels and frogs, and my children recognize nature’s sounds for what they are. But we hear other stuff, too. Once we listened as a raccoon made off with an entire bag of dog food. On a different trip, we heard a raccoon raiding our cooler as it stole the steak marinating for our fajita supper. Cows came through one campsite at night, chewing cud and making a loud, scary sound. Then there was the time when there was absolutely no sound at all. Creepy.

I love our camping excursions because they afford me the opportunity to expose my children to the living, breathing world outside our door. It has become all too comfortable to close ourselves off from the very things that sustain us—the trees that provide oxygen, the dirt in which our food is grown, the plants and animals that become meat and vegetables on our tables. My children need to learn and care about the great big world outside, right down to the pesky raccoons, so that they respect the fact that nature is a vital part of life. Our generation must be willing to step outside so that future generations can enjoy nature’s symphony living just beyond our well-insulated walls.

About the Author:

Julie Steed enjoys writing about parenting, fitness and her adventures as a military spouse. She currently lives in Leavenworth, KS with her husband and daughters. Check out her blog Emerging Author at


Jan said...

I grew up with hearing the horn of trains where I lived in southern California. Five years ago, while visiting a new church, I heard the rumblings of a train. Wow, such comfort. This weekend, while my dear hubby and I were away for a night for our 25th wedding anniversary, I heard the sound of the trains again. It's amazing how the sounds can be so soothing.
Great job, Julie.

Ginny Marie said...

I love hearing the crickets chirp at night. It one of the great sounds of summer! Camping is a great way to experience those night sounds. My husband has been begging me for a pop-up; right now we only have a tent!

Jennifer said...

Great post, Julie. I remember the sounds of crickets (they were loud) at the summer camp I attended every summer. Also the constant of the river and scurrying creatures that inevitably made someone in the cabin scream, setting off a chain reaction! I have very strong memories of everything I heard at night there through nothing more than a screen next to my bunk. Thanks for the memories--

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

Great piece. Just a few weeks ago we took our kids (5 &3) tent camping for the first time. They loved it. Can't wait to do it again.