I was in the bookshop picking up Teach Yourself German, because I’m leaving for Frankfurt on Monday, and happened to spot a book called Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. What a pleasure to see that such an important subject is being tackled, and published. The jacket copy is a little overloaded with pop culture allusions like “a nature-child reunion,” but if that’s what it takes to get people to tune into a shift that isn’t just an abstract problem but a real loss for the little people we love, I won’t complain.

The author says his son asks him why it used to be more fun being a kid, and his stories of playing outside–which children in western and urbanized cultures do not do any more–resonate with me. My husband and I both grew up in suburbs, but we spent much of our childhoods outside, playing with other children.

Instead, our children have playdates and Nintendo, and they suffer from obesity, ADHD, and depression. Take a look at this book, and see if perhaps you can effect, somewhere, a nature-child reunion. Or even a nature-adult reunion. We need the chill of summer dawns and the crunchy brightness of autumn leaves, too, just as much as our children.

karen christensen's corona typewriter on t s eliot's desk

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