Monday, 22 October 2012

To see what we could see

I am truly feeling as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and that I can be fully present in mothering my children.  I feel lighter, happier, more resilient.  And with the turn of a page and the start of a new week, it seemed fitting to get a little further from home and go on a field trip back out to a nearby nature refuge.  We headed out into the world after we read a poem about Autumn from The Waldorf Book of Poetry.

This is the same nature refuge we visited in early September.  I wanted us to get out to the nature refuge at least once a month so that we could see how things change as we roll through the seasons.  And what was different in October?  At first, I wondered.  There was the absence of leaves from the trees, but that felt almost too obvious.  Slowly, it came.  Once we settled our senses and just let ourselves "be" in that little patch of quiet, it started to come, like peeling the layers off an onion.  Yes, the leaves were off the trees.  But now we could see the nests that were once so nicely camouflaged and hidden from view.  We could better see the bark and the subtle differences between the different species.  We could hear the crisp leaves under our shoes as we walked and kicked our way through them.  We could imagine a road paved of gold instead of simply the grass covered with yellow leaves. 

Then we started to hear the songs and calls of the birds.  Though the songbirds were few, they were there - hiding in the thick brush or perched in a tree branch overhead.  It took quiet on our part to hear them and search them out.  Then the quiet would unravel as the sound of geese passing overhead caught our attention!  We craned our necks to figure out where they were coming from - were they landing in the lake, or were they higher up and just passing through?  What kind of geese were they? 

As we sipped on tea and ate a snack of dried apple slices, I felt myself taken back to that magical place that I discovered when we visited Green Gables in Prince Edward Island.  I asked the children about what they saw and heard and felt.  The answers came in the form of poetry, much to my surprise and excitement! 

I truly did love today.  I was thrilled that the children didn't complain of being cold, as the wind was quite brisk despite the bright sun.  For those of you who would like to venture outside more often with your little ones as the days grow shorter and colder, here are some tips:

  ~ Dress in layers on both the top and bottom.  Think long johns, knee-high cold-weather socks, and outerwear that blocks the wind. 
  ~ Dress for weather cooler than you expect.  It's always easier to strip layers off than wish you had more to put on!  Remember mitts, hats and scarves!
  ~ If your trip involves a car ride, either keep the inside temperature as cool as comfortable, or only put on those extra layers right before you get out of the car.  If bodies get too warm and sweaty in the car, they will get too cool outside.
  ~ Excellent footwear is a must.  It can keep dew, muck, snow, and slush off toes and helps make the trek through uneven terrain easier.  For some locales, footwear that covers the ankle is also beneficial, as grasses, branches, or other plants may rub against the legs and the ankle area may not have enough protection.  Snow may seep in and make for very chilly walking.
  ~ A warm drink, such as tea, hot chocolate or soup, helps warms the hands and soul.
  ~ Keep moving!  A body in motion will keep warmer than one that is still.

Do you have any tips to share?

Enjoy your cool weather exploring!

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