This week the big thing has been “nature walks.” Each of my three littles wants to go for nature walks, and as far as the girls go, they want individual nature walks–alone with me. That’s a challenge. Whoever gets left behind is typically not pleased. And once the walk is over, in Beatrix’s case, the tears begin because the walk wasn’t long enough and not enough nature was seen. One evening this week I managed to sneak out by myself for a little while. When I got home and described what I saw and heard, a bunny hopping across my path, a turkey gobble, Beatrix threw her hands in the air and scolded, “You saw all that nature without us!”
Despite the fact that I have never been one to lug field guides on a walk (I take pictures and look things up later), Silas sees the connection between that particular shelf of books in the house and what he sees outdoors. I am regularly finding him outside lately, dragging a bag full of field guides behind him. Sometimes he convinces the girls to carry them for him.
On one walk this week Larkspur told me that there was a particular “picture that I needed to get” and that if I didn’t hurry I would “miss the light.” She didn’t mention that the walk would involve crossing a creek and climbing a steep slippery leaf covered hill in the woods. I was wearing the wrong pants (linen trousers–these in fact-fantastic for postpartum body-the state my body will be in forever I suspect), and the wrong shoes (although they actually handled things well). I started to fall behind and Larkspur yelled over her shoulder that I must not be used to walks anymore. I replied that this wasn’t a nature walk, but an expedition. She came back for me and grabbed my hand, a role reversal that didn’t escape my notice. We reached the top of the hill and I got the shot, at least I tried to. During that moment as we stood admiring the light filtering through the trees, I heard an odd sound, almost like rain. We couldn’t figure it out, but wondered if it might be inchworms hitting the forest floor around us. I’m glad that’s the conclusion that we reached at the time.
We have inchworms and eastern tent caterpillars this year in plague like proportions. As a child, I collected tent caterpillars and kept them as pets. Inchworms were a favorite as well. But this year the inchworms are devouring my plants and trees and I don’t find the tent caterpillars appealing anymore either. As I stood under one of our big maples today, I heard that sound again, like raindrops hitting the ground all around me. I paused and listened and realized with a small amount of horror that what I was hearing was caterpillar poop hitting the ground all around me.
I hope you all have a happy weekend and that the only rain that hits you is the clean kind!
(Thank you all so much for your kind words regarding Em Em. We are really missing her.)