Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Moment of Perfection

Our family experienced a moment of perfection this afternoon. It wasn't planned; it wasn't painstakingly created. But it was perfection.

Ben and I rounded everyone up for neighborhood nature walk when the two littlest girls woke up from their Sunday naps. We made it to the school's nature center by about 3:30. Lou was on her own two feet, so none of us were in a hurry. We took time to observe all the seeds the various trees have shed. We stopped at the creek to race pine cones and poke at a dead fish. We enjoyed the wild flowers. 

Honestly, I was surprised by how pleasant it was to walk through the nature center at a toddler's pace. Mara was riding in a pack on Ben's back. She'd occasionally sing out for attention. She'd quickly smile when I glanced her way. I can only think of one instance of whining throughout our entire hike. The kids were so curious and content. We picked up trash, identified various fungi, and watched the clouds roll on above our heads. 

Ben and Coraline found a snake on the rocks near the pond. Reid, Nell and I listened to the bullfrogs moan as we tried to spot them in their hiding places among the reeds and lily pads. As we stood on the floating bridge small sprinkles began to splatter on the water. Ben scooped a tiny baby turtle out from under a lily pad, and Reid and Nell each took turns holding it. The exciment of the whole hike was nearly impossible to contain. "This is so fun seeing so much nature!" Reid kept exclaiming.

As Ben put the turtle back into the pond (right near a bullfrog who would likely eat him for dinner), he pointed ahead at the classroom shelter area and told the kids we'd stop there for our snack. The rain started to pick up as we hiked the small hill out of the pond area. By the time we were all settled down with our water cups and trail mix the drops were really coming down. We had no idea that the little rain cloud we'd identified earlier would pick up so much steam so quickly. The down pour was intense for a full 60 seconds or so. The Earth felt so fresh and smelt so new.

By the time we all finished and each picked up another piece of trash, the sky was bright blue and filled with the suns beaming rays. As that light beat down on us I could nearly touch the perfection of this beautiful afternoon. I'd say my heart nearly burst -- but that is not an accurate description of my emotions. My heart was calm. My joy was full. And I knew that having this sweet little family of mine was the greatest adventure I could have ever dreamed up. 

When bigger storms inevitably come, I hope I always remember the simple peace of afternoon walks like this one. They are an anchor for my soul. 

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