“I’m fishing” my daughter called out from the stream in which she had stuck a dead tree branch she’d found. I was feeling very proud of myself, having convinced my family to go backpacking and, after a sleepless night where we were all uncomfortably squished in a tent, was telling myself that it had been well worth it to give the girls some unfettered nature time.
“What are you fishing for?” I hollered back. “Um,” she thought for a minute, searching for what she might actually find in the murky depths rushing past her. After a minute she answered uneasily: “Birthday cake?”
No, an overnight in the words would not undo the harm of modern city life for my girls. They would not suddenly understand how the natural world provides or where our always available food actually comes from. To them, food emerges as if by magic. If chicken comes from a bin in Safeway and rice from a microwave, why can’t birthday cakes emerge from a stream?