autumn days

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mount Talbert Nature Park

We were thrilled to head out for our third nature day last week.  And this time we went to Mount Talbert Nature Park with friends.  The kids trekked up the mountain, stopped for a snack, and then found a quiet "sit spot."  The kids sat quietly to listen and watch the world around them.  They reported back to the group that they'd seen purple flowers and heard music and birds and some crunching sounds.  They heard a red-tailed hawk, saw a foraging deer, and discussed the tagged lone wolf that traveled to California looking unsuccessfully for a mate.  We discovered the big kids prefer hiking, the little kids prefer being carried, and the in-between kids don't love long hikes.  (Next time we'll hike less and explore more to accommodate those shorter legs.)

Hannah's neck started getting itchy halfway through our hike and this opened our eyes to the world of poison oak.  The mountain is apparently covered with it, dormant this time of year, but thankfully Hannah's itch went away.  The lesson we took from this is to identify poison oak in its various stages and to learn with the kids how to avoid touching it.  We also made a plan to get together for more outdoor exploration together.

As my children learn to explore the beautiful local flora and fauna around them, I am trying to say less of "be careful" and more of "pay attention."  These two words feel like I am giving them permission to take more calculated risks.  I've heard it is best to take those risks while young while the consequences are relatively small.  The more my children use their bodies and pay attention with their senses, the more they will know their personal limits.  Getting out into the nature just outside our doors truly helps us to be more relaxed and excited and creative.  Rain or shine, snow or hail, we are getting up close and personal with the seasons.  Including all eight dark months of rain.  We are having so much fun paying attention to our great outdoors that we want everyone to experience it.

getting out during an unusually dry day

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