By Nancy Jo Eckerson
“It’s May! It’s May! The lusty month of May ... that lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray.” Thankfully, I have a great memory of that song from the movie “Camelot,” and in recalling that song and its uplifting, mischievous lyric, I have made a great choice – to turn off, so I can turn on.
I have decided to turn off my computer more often, to shut down my cellphone for hours at a time and to limit the evening hours of television I watch, because it’s May. Living in Western New York, even with this past not-so-wintry winter, my heart revels in the fact that I am not wearing mittens.
That scarf that choked the fun out of life is cleaned and packed away for another year and the salt-stained boot tray is washed, dried and filed away in the basement. Boots be gone!
In that same vein, I am making a choice to turn on to what is good and wholesome, healthy and harmonizing in my world.
Instead of drowning my thoughts in text messages, Facebook and unwanted email solicitations, I have opted to stop and take photos of every gorgeous tulip that draws my attention.
I have been stunned at just how colorful the world is when spring hits the Northeast. The woods, fields, gardens and yards green up and let loose with wildflowers and gorgeous tree blossoms.
Even the last windstorm produced pink streets, laden with blossoms from the fruit trees. Color is everywhere, and all we have to do is turn off the phone and turn on to nature.
Just look outside and see the colors flying through the air. Nature has returned the tree swallows, blue herons and yellow chickadees that now soar through my backyard and over my car as I drive. Flitting back and forth, I get to watch the regal kingfisher dive bomb the pond to bring in breakfast. His tuxedo-like appearance formally welcomes me to come alive.
And I share it all with my beautiful grandchildren. I make a point to show them the colorful birds, or huge groups of tulips, knowing that these events are creating new pathways of neurons that are attuned to nature’s gifts.
There is an unwritten rule in my house: Nana is not a fan of video games. So we turn off all devices and talk to each other. We go outside and explore. We take a ride and search for signs of fairies on the nature trails in Akron Park.
I am blessed to have had a “natural” youth, myself. I want to get as close as possible to that same creative attention to the environment with this new generation. So, rather than lecture, I disguise my desires with picture books, or with kite flying. I set up cookie baking fun for rainy days or creating puffy-lettered notes to friends. We might even make a mud pie or two.
Mostly, I expose my grandchildren to the reality that we have a choice to turn off the tunnel vision that is created by the obsession with our cellphones, apps and games, and to be more turned on, open-minded and widely focused on all of the action that is happening around us.
So, it’s May. Get out there and soak in the rays, or get mischievous and run through a sprinkler at 65 years of age. Just have fun. And whether you are 95, 65 or 35, make sure the younger generations notice what you are doing. Reveling in nature is a choice you will never regret having modeled for them.