March 24th, 2014
Ritual: Ten Minutes


How our walk to the bus stop became the most important part of my day

By Hillary Hazan-Glass

Some things I can count on—hot or cold weather, caffeine-fueled or not—each morning my twin 5-year-old Geminis and I walk our neighborhood street to the school bus stop. It’s hard to imagine the frenetic morning relay race of half-eaten breakfasts and wild-eyed mitten hunting culminates into the most important part of our day. But we get out, the screen door encouraging each of us with a bump. There’s something about the fresh air outside. The first breath seems to cleanse, allowing us to leave the chaos behind. Rarely are my daily transitions as palpable as this one.

Our morning ritual grew quite organically. Because of my very real fear of missing the school bus (I’m a Leo), we usually have ten minutes to spare. A few weeks after school started in the fall, I realized the children were taking their time and paying very close attention to the small details in our neighborhood; things made visible only in the quiet and stillness of morning. We would look to the sky to see if the moon was out or listen to see if the birds were chatting nearby. It became clear that we were awakening our senses as the day itself was starting anew.

Now our morning walks bring adventures of all kinds and we plant the seeds of excitement that blossom during their school day. This winter we’ve been taking great care for our neighborhood’s littlest creatures by creating small caves for them to keep warm, quickly made with a swift kick or punch into a snow mound. My daughter may find the perfect feather or twig, ideal for making fairy houses. My son may think of a silly word to count with, instead of the tried and true Mississippi, while watching the condensation flow upward from his mouth, disappearing into the sky. My daughter usually focuses her energy down toward the Earth, while my son generally sun- or stargazes. Their personalities are very much reflected in the way that they wake with the world.

This morning felt like two degrees when we set out. AND THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED! (This is what my son says at the turning point in any story he tells, and I now understand why.) We saw tree buds¬¬—little, fuzzy, grey buds popping out from the end of a tree’s branches! Spring is finally on the way, and as Spring does with all creatures, she will breathe new life into our morning ritual.

The children and I will spend the next few weeks as detectives, searching for signs of the season’s beginnings. Ice will melt into mud puddles and perhaps we’ll see a nest appear in the newly budding tree. We’ll use this special time to stop and take notice, and truly be a part of the changing of the seasons.

It’s taken me by surprise how this morning ritual, starting with (me) begrudgingly kicking off my cozy slippers and zipping up my boots, has become the most important time of my day. Spring is a great time to begin your own 10-minute ritual, as each of us is gifted the chance to watch our children grow in (and) dance with the
blossoming of life.

Here are some activities for you and your little nature detectives on your 10-minute ritual:

National Wildlife Federation

Woodland Trust

Childhood Beckons

Image via WeHeartIt.

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