We walked the planet walk (minus pluto) at The Montshire recently. Autumn is in full swing, I daresay I have even started the fireplace two times on chilly mornings. The leaves are changing slowly, starting on their rigid tips and taking over entirely before they drift to the ground. With collections of such beauties on the rise, and often gifts for mama, I have been finding crunchy leaves in all my back pockets on laundry day. (You know… every day) I believe my Arizonan husband has said no less than two dozen times how much he loves the weather here in Vermont. I hope he feels that way in February, because as a true New Englander I have felt the winter doldrums and I would like to avoid them for me and all those I love.
Hiking with children is a whole new game. I have excess time to stop and take pictures, and to take notice too. A walk in the forest is easily the best lesson I can give my children at this point in their lives. Maybe at any point in their lives, I am not sure yet. For a child there is no destination. Each spot along the way is quite good for landing. While surely you know it can be maddening when a 30 minutes hike takes 4 hours and two meals, but if you go into it with the right mindset you will come out victorious. Don’t have plans afterwards, except that of a nap (for all). Over booking us is not one of my strong points anyways. Try not to suggest anyone move it along, only to stay together. Miles, at four, finally has it set in his mind (mostly) that he can go ahead of us, but must be in sight of mama and daddy. This has improved all outings dramatically. Provisions must be a plenty, even a change of clothes (lucky for me my boys can wear the same size so one outfit is adequate), and lots of water.
My forester husband is always a good one to have around on such ventures, not only for the extra hands, but for the wealth of information he can deliver to our children in a way I cannot. I am grateful for that. We found a dried up lagoon and discussed in detail our latest chapter book, Tiptoes lightly and the lost lagoon, thanks to our sweet friend Isabelle. What timing. We found caterpillars and mushrooms and tried to make grass baskets and bracelets. We lied down, staring at the sky and discussed the battle of the trees, fighting for the sunlight. Because everyone enjoys a good battle. Everyone.
Avoiding the this-hike-is-taking-too-much-much-much-too-long frustration is so much easier with a partner, a back up reserves, a capable body to carry weary legs. It seems when I go out on these missions solo, I have a fifty percent survival rate for enjoyment. Some days I pat myself on the back (and the little ones too.. they impress me so) at the end of our given loop, other days I am so grateful to collapse into that dirty old black car of mine. You never can tell.
But not this time.