We recently journeyed to Ohio, where we stumbled into gorgeous fall colors I’ve not seen here in Chattanooga for what feels like a dozen years. For those five days with my cousins, surrounded by molten gold, I realized how much the colors of the outside natural world affect how I feel, how much I want to be outside, and how likely I am to send the kids out to play.
As all the children — eight cousins — frolicked through mounds of leaves as beautiful and soft looking as silk scarves, I realized how unlucky we’d been over the last few years in our area of Chattanooga. In the fall, whatever magical lineup of wet and cool weather just hasn’t been right, so we’ve seen brown dreariness with no fresh breath of color. Even this last spring, the most magnificent cherry tree on my property didn’t have a chance to hint at its beautiful pink petals before the final snow and frost killed all the buds.
Watching my seven-year-old play this week for hours on end despite the chill makes me think the vibrancy surrounding us also inspired her. We, as humans, are such visual creatures. I wonder if the secret to getting us away from screens and back outdoors into our yards is as simple as a well-planned greenscape emphasizing each season’s natural growth and magic.
In spring, having cherry trees that seem to gasp in relief at the first hint of warmth and pink drip perfection to tempt us out of our warm abodes and onto the trails would be helpful.
How could we resist playing yard games in summer when dwarf fruit trees waft scents of ripe fruit across a hillside blushing with pearlescent, varicolored petals?
A fall canopy that brings the trees’ inner spirits out in fiery splendor will draw us all out to run and range before the cold sets in. Even in the winter, there is beauty to draw us outside.
What little snow we get each season turns every branch into ice sculptures, and who can resist the soft crunch of the new snow?