Klean Voices: Simple Acts, Natural Treasures

December 02 2015

My son’s school is just several blocks from our house. When he started kindergarten in September I knew this would be convenient, but I didn’t anticipate the fun I’d have walking with him to school every morning, or the opportunities for connection and discovery we'd encounter together.

This little ten minute walk is a special time, free of distractions. The conversations we have when we’re walking feel different than those we have while driving in the car. When I’m driving, I’m trying to focus on the road, hear the radio – and I tend to be thinking about whatever we’re doing next. But walking: the pace is slower, we’re next to each other, we’re outside and I can be more present.

The first couple of days of December mark the official start of the holiday season. This morning, I was wishing I was crafty and had more time, so I could make the cute DIY advent calendar I saw on Pinterest. The one where you tuck a good deed into every pocket and each day for the month of December your family does something meaningful and joyful and wonderful. But I know my limits. I can barely use a glue gun or plan more than a day in advance. Not going to happen.

What I can do is seize moments as they come. We can add a little mindfulness to the frenzy of cookies and presents, in our own way, in our own style.

We can use our morning walks. "What can we do on our walk to help others, spread joy and help our neighborhood?" I asked August. He had good ideas. We can drop pennies for kids to find. We can put some used toys and books in a neighbor’s “treasure box” for other kids to enjoy. We can hang a candy cane on a friend’s tree.

This morning, we saw trash in a neighbor’s yard, so we picked it up. And in the process of finding pieces of trash along the sidewalk, August found a cool looking leaf – golden, from a Gingko tree. He carried it with him to school.

Simple acts and natural treasures. Helping others and stoking our sense of wonder. I’m hoping that can be our guide this season, and every day.

Klean Voice Contributor Amy Kober is the Senior Director of Communications at American Rivers, as well as the mother of two little boys. She lives in Portland, Oregon.