May 9, 2008

Coming back to life

Well while I hesitate to write this it appears spring has sprung in Minnesota! After snowflakes fell the last two weekends I am happy to see it is just going to rain this weekend :) The flowers are beginning to be brave enough to poke their heads out of the ground, the daffodils are in full bloom at our local arboretum and everywhere we look the tulips appear to be getting ready to spring forth. The evening brings the sounds of frog calls and the morning the songs of the birds - it is good.

My kids favorite moment of spring has arrived - the end of school. We work our schedule so that we can be finished by the first or second week of May each year in order to enjoy one of our favorite months in Minnesota. We try to spend as much time as possible outside enjoying the weather before the bugs come.

This May has been strange, it feels more like March or April than the warmth that usually brings May flowers. We have had snow twice, freezing temperatures often and have been warned to not start gardening yet. I think this weekend will bring the go ahead for many of those activities. We still have the winter coats out and have used them a few times this month, sweatshirts and raincoats stay in the trunk of our car and nearby for outdoor play. Yet sandals, flip flops and shorts are standing by ready to be used and thankful for the few moments they have been used already.

Still we have pressed on and tried to get out into nature several times a week at least. We have had several visits to the arboretum, the local nature center and a favorite marsh and meadow area where as soon as you leave your car all you can hear are the calls of frogs. As you walk down the dock it gets louder and louder until you can lose yourself in the sounds. This is Ciarans favorite place to go and it is one of his favorite times to go since you can hear so many frogs. He has yet to catch one and has only seen a handful so far.

We have resumed Nature Notebooking. We bring our nature journals and colored pencils with us and try to sketch at least one thing at each destination we go to. Some days the kids are very excited and sketch everything along the way. Other days they will do their "obligatory" sketch and then move on to just enjoying being outside. Unfortunately they never seem to share their moods so one wants to stop and sketch while the other two are itching to move forward. Always a balancing act we work out as peacefully as we can.

We are having to relearn how we explore nature this fall and it has been a frustrating process. My recovery from surgery is still only about halfway done and I have good days and bad days. I am very limited in what I should and can do and I am learning how to balance that with our need to be outside exploring. We are trying to explore more places we can drive to and limit our walking distances and time on my feet. I am trying to rest more as we go along and the kids are great about carrying things and understanding that our time has to be shorter. It is hard to only go to a wonderful place for an hour instead of all day like we prefer - still it is better to go for a little bit and soak it all in then it is to forgo going all together. By June I should be ready to resume things like geocaching, hiking and our regular outside activities. For now we are taking baby steps and making the most of the time and places we have.

It seems appropriate that this is my recovery time as I watch everything coming back awake from a long winter and I myself feel that way in many ways. Just as we need to be patient for the flowers to come in their time when it is warm and safe enough for them so I need to be patient and let my body recover and resume activities when it is appropriate and safe for me. I may sound optimistic but I have to be honest this is hard for me. I want to be outside biking, hiking and geocaching. Soon enough, soon enough....

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