Pick up sticks!

I probably wouldn’t describe our family as “outdoorsy.” While we do spend some time outside — my husband likes to run and take care of our yard and pool, and I love to walk our dog — we don’t camp, hike, bike ride, rock climb, or go white water rafting (although we did go kayaking recently, because that’s what empty nesters do when their only child goes off to college freshman year).

It would seem that our daughter inherited our “indoor” genes, as well, as she tends to avoid the sun, cold, extreme heat, and snow. I recall one Saturday post-thunderstorm morning when my husband was outside, cleaning up the yard, and I was about to walk Clancy, the Welsh terrier we had at the time. “Why don’t you come with me?” I asked my daughter, who was around 7 or 8. “It will be nice to get out of the house for a little while.”

“I don’t feel like it,” she replied.

“Then how about you help me pick up sticks in the yard?” my husband asked.

“I don’t feel like doing that either,” she said.

“Well, you can either go for a walk with Mommy or help me pick up sticks … what’s it going to be?”

As I can recall, she eschewed the sticks in favor of the walk (the lesser of two evils, I suppose), and we spent a half hour or so enjoying the great outdoors.

October is the one time of the year, however, that I start thinking about spending more time outside. Fall is my favorite season, and I start planning events and activities — apple picking, pumpkin picking, harvest festivals, hayrides, and yes, even hiking — that will ensure that we embrace Mother Nature in all of her autumn glory.

By the end of October, however, most of those plans have evaporated into the crisp, autumn air, and we’re lucky if we’ve even bought a pumpkin at Stew Leonard’s. There’s just something about the fall in New England, though, that you can’t beat, even if it’s experienced from inside your own house.