Today has been cool and overcast and lovely. We spent our morning at the second pumpkin patch of the season. Each pumpkin patch we've visited this year has a little collection of farm animals to expose these cloistered Southern California kiddos to some creatures they don't ordinarily see. I adore watching my daughter and the other children giggle in delight as goats say "maaaaa" and ducks waddle throughout their little temporary Halloween homes.
While living in California has many wonderful perks, from endless sunshine to never-ending weekend activities, I often wonder what I might be sacrificing by raising my child here in suburbia. Today, I felt nostalgic for my own rural upbringing.
When I was a girl, I spent the majority of my childhood on our hundred acre farm in Southwest Missouri. On any given weekend, my little brother and I would swim in the creek, build forts out of hay, swing on the porch and let our imaginations run wild. I pretended to be a character out of Little House on the Prairie. My brother was a soldier, pirate, ninja or cowboy, depending on his mood and toy weapon of choice. We wandered without cares and played with reckless abandon until the sun set or we got hungry.
Though both of my parents worked at the local hospitals and we went into town every day, we all tended to the land and the animals in mornings, evenings and weekends. Our mini-menagerie included cattle, a couple of rabbits, a lamb, assorted reptiles, and my wily horse named Vince.
Some of my finest childhood moments were defined by summers of wandering through the woods and winters of sledding down steep hillsides and autumns galloping on my wild steed in the harvested pastures.
It's amazing how just an ordinary weekend outing today triggered a flood of memories about my own childhood. Even if my own sweet daughter can't run wild in the untamed hills of the Midwest, for now, I'll take a chat with a petting-zoo pony as our California substitute.
Don't forget to spend a little time admiring the natural world today. A friendly farm animal or a nice neighborhood dog will set your mood right and remind you to pause for all God's creatures.
Jane Austen quote poster from Flourish Cafe on Etsy.