Saturday, May 21, 2011

What's Really Happening Outside

Almost every week, I get an email or see a post on Facebook or in some online forum about how no one goes outside anymore. It's usually some touching lament about how "in our day" kids chased lightning bugs and rode their bikes and such, but now no one ever goes outside.

My daughter and I walk and/or ride our bikes for an hour or more every day, and here's what we've seen so far this weekend:
  • A young woman sitting by a duck pond reading
  • A group of pre-teen boys playing basketball in a driveway
  • Several teenage boys on skateboards
  • A multi-generational group hanging out on lawn chairs in a driveway
  • Three separate groups of young men working on cars
  • No fewer than five people walking dogs
  • A group of children of several ages riding bicycles
  • Two separate lone men riding bicycles
  • Five people jogging, alone or in pairs
  • A woman and her teenage daughter (I presume) out walking
  • A youth baseball game with many families in attendance
  • Kids hanging out on the school playground
  • A man and a ten-ish girl painting their house
  • A child sitting in the lap of an older man and "helping him steer" a riding lawnmower
  • A young woman walking a baby in a stroller
  • Two women sitting in a yard watching a toddler and a girl of about six play
  • A couple teaching their toddler to throw a ball
  • A man gardening
  • A group of elementary-school-aged kids playing kickball
After making it a point to observe on a few different days, we think we have an idea why those wistful posters don't see more people outside. We've come to the conclusion that they should shut down their computers and step out their front doors. But first, I want to say "thank you", because if I hadn't kept hearing about how no one goes outside or talks to their neighbors or plays in the grass anymore, I'm not sure I would have thought to take note of just how much life is going on in my own neighborhood.

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