October 8, 2007
One of the reason blogging is so light in the fall is that it is one of the best times to live in Minnesota. This year our fall has been odd - though I don't know what I am really comparing it to when I say that. Still we have had cool crisp fall weather and hot 80 degree weather, lots of rain and lots of sunshine. So you never can tell. Well we grab on to those great moments and get outside as much as we can.
We go on nature hikes a few times a week in the fall. We pick a local park and go for a good walk, draw nature sketches, catch wildlife, or geocache. Some days we do all of these things and others we just end up strolling and enjoying the view. I love being outside with the kids, I love it even more when Serona can join us in the evenings or weekends but we just enjoy being out as a family.
The kids have learned to be flexible and we told Sirah the other day that she will have a strong constitution for all the walking she has to do for a child her age. I would say the minimum time we spend walking is about an hour. Sometimes we walk one mile in that time somedays we walk three in that time or just a little longer and majority of the time she has to walk on her own. \
Yes more than once I have to remind her that we do not speak "whinese" in our family but for the most part she really is great about it. Unless she sees another child in a stroller then she will pitch a fit that she needs a stroller or backpack or to be carried - otherwise she is content to walk and be one of the big kids. Besides our accidental 7 mile walk at the beginning of the summer kind of set the bar unreachable and we can always use that to remind the kids that they in fact can walk a mile back to the car themselves. Usually though our walks are pleasant, relatively short and filled with lots of nature stops.
Lately Rhiannon has begun classifying our walks. "Does today have to be a weight watchers walk?" or "Can we just have an explore and appreciate God's creation walk?" or "Can we go geocaching while we walk?" Often our walks overlap all these kinds of walks but it is interesting to listen to her describe the different kinds of walks we typically take with her bent on which she likes better.
We had a great walk last week just the kids and I at a favorite Nature Center. We saw an osprey, leopard frog, red-tailed hawk, bald eagle, ducks, chipmunks, squirrels, and caught a garter snake. We stopped to examine many different types of fungus including a puffball which was larger than a softball. We stopped for a rest and listened to the wind in the trees and appreciated the perfect 70 degree and sunny day we were having. The kids asked if we could pray and sing, so we did. It was not contrived at all it was simply from their heart as they had spent the day in God's creation they wanted to thank Him in their own way. It really was a special moment to be a part of.
We returned to this nature center a few days later to take Serona on a walk. We walked different trails but eventually came across the spot where we stopped for that special moment. The kids remembered and talked about it as we passed through the space. This time at the end of a longer and hot humid walk with temperatures in the 80's and the sticky heaviness right before a big thunderstorm you know needs to come. Serona caught a garter snake on this walk too and we enjoyed the fall leaves and the kids found some fun trees to climb. As we held hands and walked along the path with the kids running ahead of us I was so thankful that this is part of who we are as a family and I love this part. I can even deal with the "whinese" and the need to go to the bathroom at the precise moment we are atleast 2 miles away from any sort of bathroom option because to see us as a family outdoors is worth it.
Nature walks are easy to build into your day. They don't have to be long or complicated. They are a nice way to pass an afternoon, a morning or even just an hour in the middle of your day. Often you don't need to go very far to have a place you can get out walk around and appreciate nature. Some days we bring our sketch books and enjoy that time. Other days we bring a field guide or our GPS. Still so many days we just walk with a bottle of water and see what we see making snapshots without a camera as we build those memories into the lives of our kids and ourselves. So if you haven't taken a nature walk lately I encourage you to do it and have fun with it.