This week I took a much need trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit one of my dearest friends and see my younger sister. It has been way too long since I’ve been surrounded by such breathtaking beauty. This visit was rejuvenating and relaxing in the best way. Maria Montessori wrote about the need for beauty and order in the environment and I truly believe that it aids in developing inner peace.
I started the trip (with my 5 1/2 month old in tow) in Oregon with my childhood friend and felt so at ease in her beautiful home. The way she and her husband decorated, organized and set up their house is so refreshing. Every item has a purpose and place; it was like being in an adult Montessori environment. Their sweet son is thriving because of their thoughtful planning and purposeful parenting. We spent a lot of time outside: hiking, picnicking on the porch and walking the trials surrounding their house. There’s something so magical about the way a trail looks framed by giant, moss covered trees. I drank in my surroundings and quenched my unknown thirst for nature and beauty.
One afternoon we took a hike to a secret swimming hole. With our two baby boys strapped to our backs, we ventured down a path with overgrown grass and plenty of blackberry bushes. We stopped along the way and enjoyed some ripe berries and chatted like friends of 20 years will do. We walked through a tunnel of trees down a narrow path and eventually heard water coming from the distance. After a few minutes, the path opened up to a gorgeous gully with waterfalls, sun-dripped trees and moss covered rocks. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. My awestruck wonderment made me feel like a child again.
Next, I flew to South Lake Tahoe to see my younger sister and meet up with my husband, daughter, mom and dad. Everywhere you look there’s something new and incredible to see! We took a boat out on the water with some friends and were surrounded by mountains, trees and positive conversations. My three year old never was without a smile on the boat and even jumped into the chilly blue waters of Lake Tahoe! I ended the day feeling physically exhausted but emotionally recharged. The next morning, my daughter and husband spent some special time “looking for bears” on the rocky hills surrounding our condo (don’t worry, they didn’t find any). She came back with all kinds of treasures including an oversized pinecone, long stick and a few rocks. We walked around the village and took a gondola ride to the top of the mountain overlooking the lake. The views were breathtaking and left me speechless. I still have a few days left in Tahoe and can’t wait to see what’s in store!
This week I’ve felt such an incredible amount of ease, reflection and peace. I credit both my surroundings and those I spent time with. If witnessing such beauty and order resonates so deeply with me, how much more will it impact children? They absorb everything around them! Children have an innate need to be in nature so make an effort to create a simple and beautiful environment for your child that elicits peace. Find beauty in the everyday and strive to see the world through childlike eyes.