For the past couple of weeks I have been taking Aidan and sometimes Paddy down to the “meadow” below our house where presently there is a seasonal creek. The first time we went there, Aidan threw sticks in the water, fascinated to see them rush and dally downstream, occasionally getting lodged in a tiny waterfall and other times plunging over the edge and disappearing from our view.
Today we were down there again, with Paddy. This time there was a small bubbling springlike artifact within the stream — I can only guess it is a gopher hole that is getting some of the spring melt and contributing to the creek. Plus the creek has acquired long green streamers of algae, like hair flowing under the surface. Paddy was wearing boots and was proud to be able to splash through the shallows without getting wet. Aidan loved this, thought it was hilarious. He has a stroller wheel that he has pushed through a stick — hard to explain, but it looks a bit like one of those roller toys for toddlers and it acts like that too. It is his favorite toy right now. He pushed it through the stream many times.
I watched them and thought contented thoughts about natural learning, and scribbled notes about the creek changes, which is why I can actually remember them to write them down.
Then we went down a bit further to where the stream goes under a little rough bridge into a culvert — Aidan loves that bridge but it scares me a bit — it’s like a small version of one of those bridges over the precipice that you see in pictures. Still, I stood on the more dangerous side and he ran back and forth over it several times and they both threw rocks down below.
Then Paddy wanted to get “Daddy’s newspaper” which was right there at the corner of the road. We found today’s AND yesterday’s papers — a jackpot! At that point he wanted to bring the papers to Daddy and fortunately, Aidan also wanted to go back up the hill so he could play on the street in front of the house. These decisions aren’t always so easily made. Paddy trotted up the hill, needing some help and occasional lifts, until he met Clare and Kieron coming down towards us. His sister lifted him up newspapers and all and brought him to deliver them to Kevin. I went with Aidan to the street.
Later on Kevin took Aidan down there again while I napped. Aidan really would like to stay outside all day, I think. It’s too bad that he still needs a guardian for outside trips. He is getting much more self-sufficient around the house — can climb up and down stairs solo, can use the bathroom completely now, and has tried to make nachos for himself in the microwave — with only partial success.
He is much better outside too, but I just can’t picture him out there alone. Yesterday a car came by when he was on the street. He can and does run to the side but a moving vehicle terrifies him so that he gets flustered and loses his judgement. Particularly because our dog Frodo was out there, he ran back into the street trying to shepherd Frodo to safety — rather the wrong way around, since it’s Frodo who’s the Australian shepherd and much Aidan’s senior in age and experience.
Paddy says, “I’ll take care of Aidan outside,” which makes me smile, since Aidan is almost 7 and Paddy is only 3….
Back to the creek’s changes…. we have lived in our log home for almost ten years now which means most of the kids have spent the majority of their lives living here. They often tell me casually about things they have seen or how things have changed year by year or what they perceive in the ecology that’s related to the new season. They know this environment far better than I do and I’m sure that all these relationships have their effect on their minds and spirits.