It took moving to the city to begin to notice and enjoy the privilege of living so close to nature.
Our new home is just outside the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Our first week here we woke to see a deer in our yard. She reminded us that we have an obligation to make the most of our habitat and surroundings. That, we believe, includes encouraging our children to understand and appreciate the places where we live, work, and play — and to take time to observe the wild around us.
Just a few weeks after waking to the deer, one of our children dropped his breakfast spoon and shouted “A turtle!” and ran to the back door.
An eastern box turtle had made its way into our back yard. We quietly went out to get a closer look. We offered it a grape and watched as the turtle made its way to a gap beneath the fence — continuing peacefully on its journey. We enjoyed hearing all of the ideas our children had for the possibilities of where the turtle had come from. And, even more interesting, where it might be going!
Within a mile radius of our house, we often see (and hear) barred owls, foxes, hawks, snakes, crayfish, frogs, great blue heron, and a variety of backyard birds. There are stories of coyote sightings nearby – though we haven’t spotted any yet ourselves.
So, we live on a city street with neighbors on both sides and all the regular hassles of too much traffic and noise. We spend far too much time in minivans, coming and going and keeping up with busy schedules, appointments, and a seemingly endless series of birthday parties and trips to Super Target.
But it comforts us to know that we also live in close proximity to a host of wild creatures. By taking a short walk, or just sitting in our backyard, we can immerse ourselves in nature. This, we know, enriches our lives and deepens our connections to our home.