Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10- Walks In The Forest

"The emerald forests and serene waters of the island enchant children and adults alike with a natural world full of those life-affirming surprises that only the small things in nature can provide."
Bianca S. Perla





I had charge of my five grandchildren yesterday while their mother was having a much needed break. It was cool and the rain drizzled on and off. I wanted to have an outdoor adventure but the weather was not cooperating. Without too much thought to how the weather might turn out, we piled into the van and I began driving.





"Where are we going Grandma?" "I am not exactly sure, but we are going to take a family walk in the woods."






I headed for a trail I had visited with my own children years ago. I wondered how the trail had changed in twenty years. This trail ran through the middle of a peninsula where homes skirted the perimeter. As we parked on the side of the road, I searched the van for jackets or sweatshirts because the rain was spitting again. Olea waited patiently as I rolled up the sleeves of her brother's shirt and hefted her out of the carseat. We started up a dead end road which looked like someone's driveway.
"Are we going to visit Aunt Kathy?", Alvin asked.
"No, Aunt Kathy lives in another state. We are going on a trail through the woods." I said.
The driveway ended at the house and off to the right a path opened into the trees. The children squealed with excitement. They liked nothing better than to have unknown adventure. Olea sensing the enthusiasm walked with determination far beyond her years.
"Grandma, will there be bears in the woods?"
"Let's wait and see."
I said very little as we walked on the narrow path. The sounds of our island became muted and natural stillness increased. Trees above became denser which held off the rain. The older children ran ahead leaving me with the toddler who marched like a little trooper. I warned her about picking up her feet to step over roots with bulged out of the ground. They must have seemed like speed bumps to her. When the path descended downhill she voluntarily took my finger to keep from falling.
We heard the older children coming back to us and their voices increased in volume. They were finding berries along the trail. Thimbleberries peeked out from between branches just at a child's eye level.




These berries were like tiny, dark purple thimbles, the kind my mother darned socks with. Shea brought some for the toddler to share. She pushed them into her mouth and held out her hand for more. My grandchildren know more about wild berries than I do. They rehearsed to me what berries were edible and I hoped inwardly that I could trust their information. Their mother had taught them and I hoped their eagerness would not overcome their knowledge base. Seven year old, Shea, presented some new berries in his hand. Their small red, round shape looked scrumptious but I was suspicious. When giving them to Olea, I cautioned him by asking what they were. He said they were Huckelberries and that they found them often at a friends house.



Dancing around the baby he offered them to her one at a time. She ate them eagerly, grunting for more. He put some into her front pocket and scurried ahead down the trail. We walked a few steps and she stopped, digging deep into her pocket to bring out more berries. As she found one she would grin and begin trudging again with a satisfied expression. This continued for some time until the berries were gone. As she extended her hand, I showed her that I had none, so she surveyed the bushes around her. She would have to forage herself. The waxy, thick leaves were heavy with drops of rain. Brushing between leaves she found nothing. I started ahead hoping she would follow, leaving her exploration behind. The voices of her siblings pushed her forward and she laughed out loud as she picked up the pace to join them. I asked the older children if they had found the end of the trail and admonished them to stop and wait when they did because I remembered the trail opened up to a road.


The woods opened a little magic to us that day. It seemed like magic because for almost an hour there was no squabbling, no murmuring of boredom, and I yielded to the power of nature to teach us how to be. Nature invites us to be present. It parades before our senses, beauty, which can hold us fast in the now. My own children responded readily to the lure of nature and I remember the peacefulness which surrounded us on the way home from the beach or the woods. I feel so renewed as I now accompany my grandchildren into similar places. For a few hours I am thirty again, shooing my chicks under my wings. How is it that they hold more knowledge of natural things than I do? Perhaps I have not walked enough trails since my own nest emptied.



I am writing for 31 days this October about Island Life. Click here to see the other days of writing.

8 comments:

  1. Love this! Walks in the woods are so magical. I know, when we're "off," a hike is usually what cures everything.

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    1. My island has the best forest walks.

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  2. This sounds like such a lovely outing together. There is something beautifully soothing about being out in nature. Great photos!

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  3. So beautiful. And this "I yielded to the power of nature to teach us how to be." Thank you.

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  4. This is lovely. Thanks for writing about it so beautifully.

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    1. You are so welcome. Thank-you for hanging in here with me.

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