There was absolutely no way I could let this day pass without acknowledging a very important member of the Sparrow’s Nest Play Team – our dog Maximus. No, I’m not joking and I don’t have too much time on my hands. For reasons I’ll write about here, Maximus gets partial credit for any success we experience here teaching about the wonder and splendor of the natural world.
Most of my “work days” have been spent at home writing or planning the fewer fun days I have the opportunity to spend in Wild Spaces with children. But these days are necessary, even if sometimes boring. I enjoy working on our back porch, where Maximus often enjoys accompanying me for writing and research sessions. When I get restless from all the sitting, he is always ready to take me for a walk so that my mind can wander, which usually is quite helpful. And on the “recovery days,” days when I’m finally home after many days straight outside in all-weather, his weight in my lap is grounding and peaceful.
When we are outside and he is exploring the yard or a trail, I often think “I want my kids to experience nature with this much curiosity, excitement and wonder.” Believe it or not, this thought often comes back to me when I am planning a session and prevents me from the notorious overprogramming that kills curiosity, excitement and wonder. When I am encouraging the children to use their senses, I picture Max in my mind sniffing “all the sniffs” as he experiences everything 100%. In addition to their “fox feet,” “deer ears,” and “owl eyes,” I want to encourage them to use their “hound dog noses.”
Maximux is both encourager and inspiration, partner and friend. In this first year of writing, fundraising and developing programming for Sparrow’s Nest Play I know that I would have accomplished far less without this faithful companion. So Happy National Dog Day from Sparrow’s Nest Play and Maximus, Chief People Officer.