Friday, January 2, 2009

Last Child in the Woods

On New Year's Eve, I finished reading Last Child in the Woods. This was the first book for the new book club I'm participating in (Yay! I've always wanted to be in a book club.) The book is about "nature deficit disorder"--basically, that people, especially kids, don't spend enough time outdoors and in nature. It made me think that, even though I live in the country and in the woods, I should go outside more and appreciate being there, as opposed to just heading for the car and town. I also noticed that I think I spent more time outside as a child than my children do now. We had a nice routine going where we spent about two hours outside together every afternoon and then we developed a terrible mosquito problem that changed our routine and drove us to spend more time indoors. Then, even when the weather cooled down again and the mosquitoes died, we were out of the habit of our daily outside time.

Here are some quotes I copied down for our book club discussion:

"What if, instead of sailing to the Galapagos Islands and getting his hands dirty and his feet wet, Charles Darwin had spent his days cooped up in some office cubicle staring at a computer screen? What if a tree fell in the forest and no one knew its biological name? Did it exist?" [I think, yes :)]

"'Reality is the final authority; reality is what’s going on out there, not what’s in your mind or on your computer screen,' says Paul Dayton."

I found this quote refreshing because I read so much Zennish stuff that says reality is a construct and "you create your own reality" and "there is no reality." LOL!

Page 198 quotes from Robert Kennedy Jr.:

"'We’re part of nature, and ultimately we’re predatory animals and we have a role in nature...and if we separate ourselves from that, we’re separating ourselves from our history, from the things that tie use together. We don’t want to live in a world where there are not recreational fishermen, where we’ve lost touch with the seasons, the tides, the things that connect us—-to ten thousand generations of human beings that were here before there were laptops and ultimately connect us to God.' We shouldn’t be worshipping nature as God, he said, but nature is the way that God communicates to us most forcefully. 'God communicates to us through each other and through organized religion, through wise people and the great books, through music and art,' but nowhere 'with such texture and forcefulness in detail and grace and joy, as through creation...And when we destroy large resources, or when we cut off our access by putting railroads along river banks, by polluting so that people can’t fish, or by making so many rules that people can’t get out on the water, it’s the moral equivalent of tearing the last pages out of the last Bible on Earth[emphasis mine]...Our children ought to be out there on the water...This is what connects us, this is what connects humanity, this is what we have in common. It’s not the Internet, it’s the oceans."

From page 285 quoting one of his sons at age four: "Are God and Mother Nature married, or just good friends?" (I LOVE this!)

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