We enjoyed a little outdoor time off and on throughout the weekend. I wanted to be sure we committed to doing something outside today, as the weather is supposed to be rainy and then cool off over the next few days.
One of our favorite, easy outdoor adventures is to go explore the small nature trail in our neighborhood. We are blessed with lots of parks and trails near us but the paths are nearly all paved. Most of the year I really appreciate this as it means I can bring the stroller or wagon for kids that get tired and we can sit down anywhere for a picnic. It also means having a degree of separation from nature though.
The neighborhood nature trail is short. If you do both arms of it and take the long way around to connect them it is maybe a little over half a mile. And with a 16 month old walking and exploring along with us, we only did one arm in the forty-five minutes we had.
While we may not have made it far; we witnessed plenty. We found acorns of all shapes and sizes as well as some other types of tree nuts. We found fungi of different colors growing from fallen logs and tiny sprouts of new growth coming up along the edge of the trail. My preschooler climbed down into the barely dribbling creek to play in the wet leaves as my baby explored her favorite little red berries from the honeysuckle. We tried to use sticks to draw in the dirt but it was a little too packed and cracked this time of year. We even saw an opossum that I'm ninety percent sure was "playing possum" not sleeping or dead. Either way, we moved right along.
It is fun to get to see the different ways nature interests my girls. It's fun to see their different personalities really emerge during free roaming like this. The baby is more timid as her confidence in her footing on the uneven surfaces is still growing but she is perfectly content to sit and play in the dirt or pick berries. The preschooler on the other hand is climbing and reaching and splashing, literally running circles around us as her love of exploring is in wanderlust in this setting.
I honestly don't know what my favorite part is anymore. It used to be just to find a quiet place to sit and watch as the birds and squirrels began carrying on their normal activities again. There is little chance of that with two kids in tow but getting to explore and see through their eyes is a treat in itself. I love to climb and splash and explore but I am equally content to sit and chat about acorns and berries with the baby. Most of all, I just love this warm Autumn weather!
I'm grateful for warm days in November. I'm grateful to make sure we got out to enjoy this nice day. I'm grateful my girls love nature. I'm so grateful for my older daughter's bold attitude toward exploring. I'm grateful for the sweet timid way my little one explores. I'm grateful to share my love fo the outdoors with my girls. I'm grateful for the surprise of seeing the opossum and more grateful it stayed lying where it was. I'm grateful my little one is able to walk and explore some on her own now but also grateful she is still small enough to carry easily when my older daughter wants to race. I'm grateful for all the beautiful places near home that offer opportunities to play in nature.
When was the last time you sat in the dirt and tried to draw with a stick or just played with some acorns? When was the last time you splashed through a creek? When was the last time you just enjoyed some time in nature?
May we make the time to spend in nature, reconnecting to the earth and reigniting out explorer's spirit! Have a beautiful day!