Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Welcome Spring with a Nature Walk!

Today was a memorable day.  We were up with the sun...well, my boys were up with the sun.  I was up, when they climbed into bed with me.  We started lessons over pancakes and sausage and finished by lunchtime.  After chores were complete, the boys went outside to play and immediately ran back inside to inform me that it was a beautiful day!  One look out the window proved that fact and the temperature was very nice as well.


Lunch, grilled cheese and tomato soup, was at the picnic table.  Since we were eating al fresco, we decided it was nice enough for a walk.  This would be our first nature walk since Winter's cold weather had established itself.  We were all anxious to see what Winter had done to our trail.


After we cleared away our soup mugs and grabbed our nature journal backpacks, we hit the trail.  We each keep a lightweight backpack packed with our nature journal and colored pencils ready to go at all times, so getting ready for a walk takes very little time.  I could tell that the boys were really excited to be on a walk again.  We don't own the land on which we walk, but we have permission from the owner.  In the Spring, Summer, and Fall, we walk the trail at least once a week, so it feels like it's ours.  Walking it again today was like revisiting an old friend.


Our first discovery was that a tree had fallen across the path and created a neat little bridge to another part of the wild where we rarely explore.  So we ventured into new territory across this God-made bridge.  Signs of new life were everywhere.  I sat and sketched the beginnings of some purple skunk-cabbage plants.  They were truly beautiful.  My youngest son went spe-lunking.  No there are no caves on our nature trail.  He throws large rocks into the nearby creek and listens to them make a "spee-lunk" sound.  And my oldest son came to me and said that he and his brother had found another secret spot by the creek.


We ventured along the creek for a while and then returned to our trail at the "Fairy Tree."  This is a large tree that sits beside an old stone wall.  The roots of this tree are exposed on one side and look like so many little fairy homes in the holes made around the roots.  We said hello to the fairy tree and asked if it missed us this winter.  Then we stopped at our resting spot.  This is an open area under several pine trees.  The ground is soft with inches of pine needles and there are a few fallen logs on which to sit.  We sat and finished adding drawings to our nature journals. 


While the boys were still drawing, I went and leaned against a tree near the creek.  I could hear the water passing over rocks int he low places of the creek.  I could hear birds singing and the occasional car passing in the distance.  I looked up and saw two hawks circling above me.  Their flight was completely silent.  Everything inside me was rejoicing and alive in this beautiful setting.  My mind sang the hymn, "I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord." 


We headed back home after about an hour.  Our first true spring day ended with a supper of beans and sausage by a fire in the yard.  As the evening air grew colder we toasted the last of the marshmallows and headed inside.


I love Thy kingdom, Lord,

The house of Thine abode.

The Church our blest Redeemer saved

With His own precious blood. 

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