Dead Streets

I miss the sounds of summer; our streets and sidewalks are practically dead. All May long weekend I waited for someone, something to go by and really, nothing happened. We have had lovely evenings and it's a gorgeous Saturday again. Zip and nada for foot or 2 wheel traffic.
Remember Saturday mornings? Everyone who could, was out washing a car and the sidewalks were full of little kids learning to ride their bikes.
When my own children were small, the 'big kids' were busy showing off, to each other as well as the adults who looked askance at such recklessness. When my son joined the 'big kid' ranks, he became young Mr. Fixit, always fixing the bike he was busy demolishing by using it as a steeplechase horse. My daughters also lived on their bikes; it was how they got around. Their friends lived more than a (gasp!) kilometre away.
Summer meant outside: building forts, going for walks (watch for the bears), planting gardens, sleepovers in the tent trailer (come in if you think you hear a bear), playing at the school playground at 4 in the morning (just because you can, and it's getting light out), swimming and fishing. Tons of outside.
I've experienced summer in the city and in the bush. As far as kids go, there was essentially no difference. Everyone was sun starved and everyone went out.
I think we are still sun starved but now we are fearful. Fear has a way of gripping us by the throat and stifling everything. I do not believe that electronic devices are to blame for the epidemic of inside. Electronic devices are opiates; they quell our natural desire to do any thing other than use them and they have made our children more manageable. Fearing outside and its dangers, parents have turned to computers and their spinoffs to engage their children believing this keeps them safe.
I do not believe that the world is full of depraved people whose only mission in life is to kidnap my grandchildren but neither am I willing to send them out unsupervised just to test my theory.
Canada's children are so inactive and yet we have so much to offer. Should we then reverse test "Build it and they will come" meaning our parks and sidewalks, by "Demolish and they will scream."? Perhaps there is nothing so precious as the tree in the tree museum unless it is a bicycle mounted on a piece of sidewalk in the Outside Museum.

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