Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Lake week, I took two of my daughters to the wild.

It was the perfect early summer-like day, and I had a full morning with Daisy and Violet, a morning with no errands or chores needing to be done, one of our first days of summer vacation. Lily was spending the morning at cooking camp, and I asked Daisy: "What would you like to do today?" 

"Go hiking", she said. "I want to explore the wild." And so we did. 

We hiked up the giant hill of our favorite trail, marveling at how different the fields looked from a short few months ago. We hiked past the large broken tree trunks, where we pretended they were moose grazing on the land. We hiked past wildflowers admiring their many colors. We measured our shadows. We hiked over a thick sticky mess of mud, amazed at how the creek has dried up so quickly. We jumped, we skipped, we ran, we laughed. 
John Muir once wrote that "one day's exposure to the mountains is better than a cartload of books." I love books, always have, and I am not sure that I could survive without them, but sometimes when I stand at the top of the world, surrounded by the click of insects I cannot see, listening to the thud of my heartbeat and feeling the rustle of wind across my skin, I think that I could not survive without this. 
We play games out here. We mimic the sounds we hear, the whistles of the birds, the soft rubbing of leaf against leaf. We find broken sticks that become our magic wands. We pretend we are explorers finding new lands. We make believe we are bumble bees or butterflies or fairies. We explore - we run fast, climb trees, dig in the dirt and jump on rocks. We walk forwards or backwards, fast and slow. I do my best to not issue warnings. I encourage my girls to let them see the world through their own eyes. Sometimes we fall, sometimes we have scraped knees and hands, but we pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off. Learning that we are strong, learning to keep going, learning that hard work always pays off. 

Hiking, I have always called it. Walking, or birding, or nature-journaling, or exploring. A green hour, naturalists now call it, as they encourage parents to connect their children to the outdoors. 

Later that night over dinner, Daisy told Daddy about our day. "A whole morning alone with Mommy and Violet. We went to the wild and saw magic." 

As our eyes met, with a smile on our lips, I thought, "seeing magic in the wild." That sounds much nicer than green hour, don't you think? 

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Sneaky Spies

A couple of weeks ago, we heard the distinct sound of footsteps padding around upstairs well after our bath, books and bed routine had finished. We heard giggling and talking. We heard laughing and music playing. We dismissed them. Daisy and Lily share a room, and sometimes are up after lights out sharing stories and laughing about the day.

About 20 minutes later Lily comes tip-toeing down the stairs with a hoodie on over her PJs. Zippered. Hood up. Sunglasses on. She’s hugging the wall and creeping along into the family room.

“Don’t look at me. Don’t watch me guys” she tells us.

“Alright” we say slowly, unsure what is going on. She heads over to our shoe cabinet, reminding us to not look at her. 

Seconds later her shoes are on (now, why can't she put her shoes on this quick when we are running late for Kinder drop off?) and she heads straight for the garage.

J and I both jump up, asking the essential questions: "What's going on," "Why are you up?" "Where are you going?" 

She turns towards us with a deadpan face, speaking slowly and enunciating every word. She explains that she was going to sneak out and meet her neighbor friend for her first mission. "I'll be back before morning."

And this was the story of the time time one of my daughters tried to sneak out at night. I am very sure it won't be the last time either.