Here I am at the end of another day with no plans on what to do with my kids when I get home. Laundry needs done, the house is a mess, the garden…the cows…the chickens and I have no idea what I’m going to feed my two growing boys.
We slap some PB&J’s together; wash them down with some water, grab an apple and I am out the door, the boys follow. What are we doing? I have no idea, we are just gonna walk north. Let’s just walk north. I actually feel like I’m dragging the boys north. This spur of the moment unorganized, unstructured ‘activity’ has thrown them for a loop and they have a terrible case of the whines, especially the teenager.
What are we doing? We are walking north. Kick some rocks. Find a rock, pebble, gravel and kick it. So lame I’m told. Whining continues until a track is discovered. Plainly a turkey track, but I fain stupidity until the boys do their, sometimes condescending, brotherly back and forth of possible animals until they figure it out. We do a group high-five.
What are we doing? We are walking north. Look for a walking stick, everyone walking needs a good ole walking stick. Little brother wonders off the road into a few dying trees. Big brother saves him from a patch of poison ivy. Little brother finds out the chokecherries are ripe for picking. We’ll have to ask the neighbor for permission first.
We all notice the difference of temperature and smell as we dropped down the hill towards the creek. We stand on the country road bridge tossing gravel into the small flow of water as the boys talk about how much water was in the creek that one time it flooded. I prod them until they tell me it was in the spring a couple years back. Little brother follows the creek with his eyes, upstream through the pasture. The cows must be really thirsty to drink all that water. Big brother rolls his eyes, but I see a smile at the corner of his mouth.
We turn back south to head home. I feel reenergized and it’s a good thing to. The boys are gushing for mom hugs. I practically carry them as we do a kind of side-hug walk for a while. They ask for another PB&J.
The walk lasted a short 45 minutes but it seemed like two hours. We didn’t plan anything or even take anything with us. I was mostly silent and winding down from work while the boys unknowingly attached themselves to the sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes of Nebraska. I walked north while they unknowingly identified local plants and animals, contemplated water use and conservation, and got in some exercise to boot. This is when true life-long learning happens. These are moments when we are freed up from our fast paced lives to see that all things are connected in a vast web of dependence. Be it plants, rocks, animal, mother or brother. All we did was nuthin’
See you out there!