I strapped my son, Calvin, to my chest, laced up my boots, and went for a walk in the woods on a soggy, but warm afternoon last week. The woods were saturated with the earthy smells of damp leaves, mushrooms, and rotting wood. The rain had swollen a normally jump-able stream. If I didn’t have Calvin strapped to my chest, I could have gotten a running start and jumped the muddy stream. But since Calvin was loosely tick-tocking loosely like a metronome in the harness, I didn’t trust that he wouldn’t go somersaulting and land probably-not-right-side-up in the forest. If you catapult your son in the woods and his mother’s not around to hear him cry, will you still be saying your sorry for the rest of your life?
I searched for a crossing. I found a scrawny but scrappy fallen limb that offered to be my bridge. It was springy and my son tested my balance with his tick-tocking. I made it to the middle when the branch snapped. I stood in the middle of the stream as water poured into my boots and crept up my jeans (thanks capillary action!). I should have done this in the first place. As a kid I would have not even bothered with a bridge. I would have jumped into that water first thing. After I left the stream I walked right through the middle of any and all streams and ponds I wanted to explore.
With spring, the forest has begun to reveal its secrets. But some secrets need to stay hidden just a while longer. Can you find the caterpillar below?
Did you find him?
Calvin wanted to touch and try to eat everything. He’s very tactile. He reached out when he saw a tree that needed a slight caress or a wild whack from his little hands. He really liked this tree with its twisted neck and snowflake-patched bark. I did too. Anyone know this tree?
After our caterpillar hunting, tree touching, and dead-tree balance beam, we ended our adventure among mossy islands that dotted the forest floor.
Happy spring everyone!