Wednesday, September 24, 2008
This is one of my favorite things to do with my kids in the afternoons. It seems that our little ritual falls by the wayside in the hottest part of summer. We are worn out from swimming and sun, and there is too much poison ivy on the trail to safely navigate. It is a hallmark of autumn for me when we resume our afternoon walks. And what little adventurers we are on these walks! It is so nice, because we live in the woods and we just walk out the door. I realize I am lucky and I feel so grateful for our lifestyle.
It is the quiet of the woods that I relish, but I also delight in watching my kidsas they run and explore. It's pretty neat now that there are the two of them. They sometimes interact more with each other during these walks than they do with me. Often, I am just an observer to their exploration together. On this particular walk this week, we found a black snake. This is a picture of my kids watching it as it worked it's way to the creek. Can you see it coming out from under the log? You'll need your glasses! They had absoulutely no fear of it because we used to have a corn snake as a pet.
Having a snake as a pet was a unique experience for me. I had always been really skittish around snakes. It was real growth for me to become comfortable around Suzi (the snake, as named by my daughter.) My daughter also learned so much from that experience. She fed Suzi dead mice because that is what corn snakes eat. She got to see Suzi shed her skin several times. She watched Suzi grow and we looked up information when we needed it to increase our understanding. Plus, it was the really special daddy/daughter thing. I didn't mind being on the sidelines while I got my fear under control and worked at embracing the wonders of snakes. After about 6 months, we all agreed that it was time to return Suzi to her natural habitat. We released her in our shed where it is mouse heaven. I cried, really, I did! We hope that someday we will see her again, and she is still often talked about in our home.
And now my big girl is helping teach her little brother about snakes. They know not to touch any snake unless given adult permission. She understands that there is a difference between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes; she'll tell you all about it. I have to say, it is a rare moment that a two year old and a five year old are such quiet observers. It was right at the end of our walk and provided perfect closure to an excellent adventure.