Restoring Kids’ Habitats (and Ours)

It’s hard right now, in these dark days, to believe that we have the power to change things. I got to thinking about that yesterday when I passed this art in a nearby city’s habitat restoration area. The seeds of good we plant (or at least do not destroy) do, indeed, grow. What is it we want to nourish?

I was on my way to deliver a gift to my neighbors who had moved there, just one city over, a year ago so that their children could walk to school, play in parks, use trails, and enjoy other city amenities without being driven everywhere. In short, so they could have age-appropriate autonomy* denied in car-centric places and additionally free their parents from the hours spent stuck hermetically-sealed in motor vehicles chauffeuring them everywhere.

The mom and two of the three kids sat with me on their deck and told me all the big and little changes that have happened since they moved. The kids were so positive and excited about the new freedoms they were experiencing. The mom and I nodded, knowing how that felt, having both grown up that way. In short, the habitat of these children was so very clearly restored and expanded by a simple move a few miles away.

And so, now as we go into 2022, I ask you — how will you restore or expand your habitat as a human, being, in the world?

How will you find more joy and balance and purpose?

How will you free yourself from waiting for the gutter of failed imagination, sharrow-minded-thinking, and compromises-that-kill to change?

How will you create new habitats by either completely changing where you exist or starting new habits where you do?

I asked myself those same questions as I walked around my neighborhood last night under a starry sky and full moon during the State of Alaska’s Bring Back the Light Event. How will I be a light? How will I plant seeds? How will I restore and expand my habitat? What new habits does that require?

And so, finally, I leave you here in 2021. Thank you for joining me as I strive, always, to plant a seed or nourish those that already exist. To shine a light. To trust the journey.

Full disclosure: I had considered including that city in my free self-guided bike tours but had a bad experience with a series of concerns on the day I went out to document it this past April. However, this family’s lived experience for a solid year now, coupled with my positive 3.5 mile ride yesterday, leads me to reconsider including it.

*Related aspirational media release that includes mention of age-appropriate autonomy as I reframed a crime incident involving a teenage girl that I believe had been reported irresponsibly by both the media and my local police department.

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