I recently read Richard Louv’s book, Vitamin N, and was inspired to incorporate some of his practical outdoor activities in my family life. I started with the moonwalk: a winter walk on the night of a full moon. Our first moonwalk was on the afternoon of my day off, when the sky was still blue and on the cusp of darkening, with streaks of pink clouds on the horizon.Earlier that afternoon, as I parked into our driveway, I looked back at the rear view mirror hoping that the kids were asleep so we didn’t have to go on the moonwalk in the 9°C weather. The kids were both wide-eyed, twisting and turning, eager to get out of their car seats. With their high-pitched voices they announced that we didn’t have to go on a moonwalk because they could see the moon outside the car window anyway. I assured them that the walk would be quick and that we would bring a flashlight and a scooter. We rummaged through the layers of toys, books, and dirty clothes on their bedroom floor – no flashlight. We took out everything in our boot – no scooter. I felt ill-prepared but I reminded myself to go back to the basics which was ensure that the kids were safe and comfortable. A saying I picked up from one of my cousins flashed in my memory, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” At 5:30 pm, after a quick wardrobe change to add beanies and thicker jumpers to our outfits, the screeching birds roosting in the tree next door announced the start of our first moonwalk.
I had little knowledge of moon phases so as we were walking, I Googled what the moon phase was for the night: it was the night of a waxing gibbous moon. I looked up from my phone every few minutes keeping an eye on the kids as they picked up fallen petals and leaves from the front yards we passed. Just as I was about to Google what waxing gibbous moon meant, I saw my daughter standing still, eyes to the sky, softly saying that the moon was an almost circle moon. Kids are often the best teachers of living in the moment. I put my phone away, took a few deep breaths, and focused on the hum of cars from the main road, the sky darkening to night gradually making a clearer outline of the moon, the soft fur from my oversized hand-me-down vest I zipped all the way up brushing my nose and cheeks, and the warm exhaled air that kept half my face warm.When we reached a small park, the kids chased each other up and down a path until the dogs from the houses next door expressed their dislike of high-pitched squealing with barks, growls, and thumps on the Colorbond fences.As we walked back home, I heard my son tell his sister “The moon is a star but it is not hot.” My daughter’s eyes were glued to the sky and as she was walking, she told her brother that “The moon keeps following us,” and that “The sun is hot and that is a star.” We finished our moonwalk at 5:55 pm. I was happy with the outcome of our first moonwalk: we intentionally looked up the sky and got curious.
Have you gone on moonwalks with or without kids? I would love to know how you went and I would appreciate any tips for our future moonwalks.