fort making materials

When I was a little girl, I loved to build forts. I would crawl under blankets draped over our living room ottomans. I would perch on the low branch of a front yard pine tree. My dad and grandpa even created a rectangle playhouse in our backyard, designed by my mom with a puppet show theater at one end and doors that opened to reveal a stage. Talk about building an awesome fort!

I can still feel myself in those sacred, magical spaces feeling gloriously shut off from the world, alone with my imagination. Dirt on my knees, sap on my fingers, joy in my bones. It came rushing back to me yesterday, while we played with our boys in a fantastic fort-building area at the Minnesota Arboretum.

The kids ducked in and out of existing forts, and added materials to others. As Ryder carefully pulled swaths of burlap over branches to make a patchwork roof on one, I remembered the happy freedom of building a fort any which way with anything I could find. And I realized that’s the very same, happy freedom I hope my boys can build their lives with.  The same enthusiasm and creativity we all need to build our lives with.

Much like the very best forts, the very best lives are created by people who are unafraid to be unconventional. They are adventurers in their own back yards, excited to explore what’s right in front of them.

They let their imaginations run wild, undeterred by muddy knees or sticky situations. They relish in the making of their life, the collecting of tools and wisdom and hope along the way.

I want this for my boys. I want this for all of us, no matter where we’re at in the journey. To create our lives like we’re building the coolest forts ever.