Friday, June 7, 2013

A Country Creek

My childhood pal Erin grew up in the same slice of suburbia as me.  The closest the two of us ever got to nature were weeklong stints at church camp.  Perhaps that's why I greeted her "moving to the country" announcement with such surprise.  I wondered whether one "city slicker" would take a shine to rural living.

Today we visited Erin and her girls in their new country home.  Her house sits amid cornfields, flanked by a chicken coop and a vegetable garden.  Erin guided the tour and provided a detailed explanation on the rooster hierarchy and chicken hatching.  I was impressed!

After play and lunch, Erin escorted the kids through her fields and down into a slender creek.  We cut through thick brush, crawled over tree branches, and bypassed thorn bushes before landing at a muddy creek bed littered with rocks, pebbles, and critters of all sorts.

Most of the kids had fun.  Cooper was clearly in his element.  He scaled fallen tree branches and launched pebbles into watery graves.  Connor dug furiously through the muddy banks, searching desperately for a find: an ancient fossil, a ginormous bug, perhaps even a buried amphibian (a boy can dream, right?).

The other two boys had plenty to say about the experience such as:

-it was too wet (well, creeks are wet)

-it was too muddy (creeks are muddy too)

-they had to walk through too much thorny/prickly/muddy/wet/icky stuff (all part of the experience)

-there was not one single video game out in nature (OK, they didn't say that, but I know that's what at least one was thinking)

I tried to ignore the "haters" as much as possible.  I desperately wanted them to have fun and to enjoy what cannot be replicated at our house, to relish a summer childhood adventure that can't quite be experienced the same way by the time one reaches adulthood.

We headed back to Erin's house through the same brush, over the same trees, across the same bushes.  Two boys never warmed to the experience.  It made me sad.  But then I thought about Erin and wondered if one day they'd feel differently too.  


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