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Spring, When the World
Wakes Up

by Nancilee Wydra

What wonders await the eyes, heart and mind of those who explore the earth? There could not be a more fertile source for a child's imagination that outside in nature. All the ingredients which feng shui's uses as a guide to replicate inside are out there for the enjoyment.

The ingredient that makes nature so compelling is proportion. Children do not ponder the oversized scenes with as much rapture as they do the intimate, manageable, detailed and small. By contrast the grand scenes seem out of focus, hardly touchable and merely abstractions which don't permit as much integration, enmeshment and involvement. You can hide in a group of bushes, smell their aroma, investigate the veins and other details in their variegated surfaces. A distance ridge only promises to be a fertile playground but doesn't deliver anything but mental images.

Nabhan and Trimble in the Geography of Childhood write that a quarter of the children born in the United States during this next generation will start their lives in urban slums and will never experience the land upon which food is grown. The thought of not having a first hand experience with a variety of flowers, shrubs, trees, grasses, birds or other wood living animals is not unimaginable to me. My first seven years were in Brooklyn, where cement replaced dirt and lawns were wild lands. I remember my astonishment after moving to a suburb surrounded by two thousand acres of reservation and seeing for the first time a tomato growing on a vine. I could hardly believe that a slim green rope could support the weight of the plump, red ball. Certainly a child can't experience every thing under the sun, but attention to what is possible is a vital to supply a full, well-rounded life experience.


Nature affords unabashed freedom for a child. A child can't break many things outdoors that will call forth adult's wrath. Sure you can step on a flower bed, ride a bike tire rut into a wet lawn and or not adhere to a sign warning to pick no flowers, but generally nature provides a random abundance that precludes, in most cases, destruction by children. Toss a pebble into the water at a pond's edge and surely a replacement can be found. Climb a tree to examine a hollow, roll down an incline, or move buckets of water onto hollowed out earth are all activities that indoors are either forbidden or need close supervision.

The freedom afforded a child by the diversity and non-destructiveness of outside is a characteristic that must be focused on. No temperature extreme should preclude a child from having a natural place to explore. When properly dressed, the outdoors can be explored year round.

The unique feature about unattended nature is surprise. A frog huddling under a rock, a lizard scampering out from the underbrush and a bit of fool's gold glimmering from a rock are the kinds of adventures that children cherish. We tend to keep things in the same place indoors and although there is comfort in predictability, it can promote boredom. Attention paid to altering indoor environments can simulate nature and hence make them more stimulating. I am not suggesting dragging furniture around weekly, but am suggesting circulating toys, posters, and games so that a revisit can reanimate a child's interest.

Critters, a consistent factor outdoors, are fascinating to children. Lines of ants, grasshoppers, squirrels and their daily adventures are endlessly engaging. Since all critters cannot be pets, I suggest creating habits that draw them to areas that can be seen from a child's indoor play space. Regula, my literary agent has fourteen bird feeders and three suet dispensers on her property. There is not a window that does not frame the wild life that flocks to these feeding stations. Many years ago when I was teaching in New England, I was consulting for a family with an asthmatic child who loved animals but was highly allergic to them. The feng shui remedy was to hang bird feeders, plant butterfly attracting flowers, set up squirrel food dispenses and deer licks outside her bedroom windows.


Think about the benefit of a tree. They can be climbed, hidden behind, provide shelter, are landmarks, and afford privacy. Green leaves provide a dazzling array of shadows on the ground and a kaleidoscope of shapes which to look through from the ground. Closes up, green leaves are fascinating to look out with their variegated interior shapes, diversity of textures to touch and mouth. Fall leaves can be piled, tossed, kicked, crumbled and used for collages. What object indoors provides such a plethora of opportunities? Even a felled tree sports materials for fort building, acrobatic ventures and places crying out for search parties to discover dens of little animals or surfaces for spores and mushrooms. If you are lucky enough to have ground surrounding your home, plant a tree. Choose a fast growing one or perhaps a fruit tree whose limbs remain close to the ground. No bought object can match the medley of opportunities, as do these stately live umbrellas.

Natural habitats are grounds upon which a child can be the architect. Their interaction is meaningful as it is with other forms of creative partnerships such as painter and canvas, musician and instrument, or welder and metal. Indoors the creation is formed, conceived by adults to meet social, economic and cultural needs. Outdoors the canvas is blank in so far as the intervention is as large as the imagination of the inventor. Leaving or creating a wild space for your child to explore in your backyard or nearby is a gift equaling unabashed freedom to be themselves.


Nancilee Wydra, Feng Shui Master and author of five books on feng shui travels the country lecturing and consulting for Fortune 500 companies and individuals. She is the founder of the Feng Shui Institute of America, which has developed the first nationally certified professional training program on feng shui in the country offered at the following:


Some of Nancilee's Book Titles:


Visit Nancilee Wydra at:



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