I’m still working on another post about the last several weeks, but here’s a story about today. After some card games (war and speed) and some Playmobil play and some puzzling this morning, we headed up to Storm Mountain for a hike. It’s been awhile, partly because we’ve been busy with soccer and gymnastics and partly because it’s been raining almost every day lately.
The kids were getting into arguments before we left but as is almost always the case, once outside there was no conflict. They love going on hikes where there are a) rocks to climb and b) water to play in, so Storm Mountain is always enjoyed even though the short hike up to the stream is steep. We saw flowers and new growth on trees and shrubs. We saw birds who frequent the stream. The kids tried drawing with rocks on other rocks and enjoyed the different colors and textures they could make. Lilah found bunches of what she called ladybugs but were different varieties of red beetles some with dozens of spots, some with none.
We spotted a snake by the stream and many striped spiders. I was thrilled to watch Lilah excitedly discovering and interacting with ladybugs, roly poly bugs and was even moving closer to see a spider. When she was three she got stung by an insect and was terrified of anything that wasn’t a butterfly for years. She calmed down about it after that but was still wary, even last summer. Today, she was friendly with those beetles.
They were discussing what kinds of trees were on the path (they remembered maple and pine but not scrub oak) and I gave them a refresher on what stinging nettle looks like because there’s a bunch of it up there. We found itty bitty male pine cones that had fallen and we admired new patterns in the trail from all the rain lately.
They climbed and drew and dug in the dirt and picked dandelions. I sparked an interest for the kids today in natural art by arranging dandelion tops on a rock crack and later on the kids were excited to try their hand at it.
On the way down the trail, the kids tried to hide and camouflage themselves. Fortunately for me, they were wearing purple and blue so I found them and found them again. Lilah was also showing interest in tracking and leaving signs of what’s ahead or behind, possibly picked up from some books we’ve been reading lately. So, we made a cairn and we put certain rocks this way or that way to show, “I’m going ahead” or “the trail goes left”. It’s so good to get into nature. I love it but it’s so easy to forget or not make time for that. Maybe a scheduled hike day each week is in order.
As an added bonus, we got to listen to Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling on our way up and down in the car. They are hilarious and captivating, O my Best Beloved.