Ha Family at The Park at River Walk

The Ha family at The Park at River Walk

Photo courtesy of Nina Ha

In my early 20s, I had the honor of meeting Ms. Dorothy Egg, a then-87-year-old lady who was my next-door neighbor when I moved to Washington state for my first reporting job.

Dorothy lived and breathed the outdoors, or the “out-of-doors” as she would call it. She loved to cross-country ski, walk, run or do anything her body allowed her to do. At 85, she took her last ski run down the mountain. She would often hint that she would be more active if she were young and able-bodied like me. So I took her advice, and I’m so thankful I did. I think it made Dorothy happy knowing I was actually using the body that God gave me.

So now, my husband and I try to liberate our family from the jaws of electronic devices, and be intentional about connecting with each other through the simple joys of nature.

One of our favorite pastimes is biking, scooting, rolling and strolling with our new puppy around The Park at River Walk. On clear, bright days, there’s usually a crowd of people picnicking, fishing, playing in the structures or just taking naps on the grass.

Angela Diffee is a mother of three young boys. For her family, getting out is sometimes going no farther than out the front door.

“I’m big on front yard play when they are elementary age,” she said. “Not only are they playing outside, they’re building community relationships with their neighbors.”

My college roommate and friend San Juanita Sikola enjoys outdoor adventures with her family of five.

She said: “On sunny days, we like to hike out by the sheriff’s shooting range. Then we head out camping!”

In Kern County, we’re surrounded by campsites, Wind Wolves Preserve, pick-your-own-fruit orchards and myriad parks.

Dorothy eventually passed away at the age of 99, but her lessons will always stay with me.

I imagine that if she were

still alive, she would find so much joy in seeing all of us laughing in the sun, running around with our kids, taking walks with our friends and soaking in the majesty of this world.

So let’s all venture into the great out-of-doors. You can go far or stay in your own backyard. But do it for your health. Do it for your family and friends. And, if you’d like, do it for Dorothy.

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Nina Ha.

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