I recently talked with a friend about experiencing the fullness of life. When we live mostly indoors, either in central heating or air conditioning, in a very comfortable zone, we dull our senses. I remember hiking on the moors in North Yorkshire (think Wuthering Heights), on a blustery day, with winds chasing rain showers and clouds, and meeting an old guy who greeted my friends and I with, “It’s cracking up here!” (Cracking, think Wallace and Gromit movies, and Wensleydale cheese being ‘cracking good cheese’), and thinking, “Yes, it is cracking! I feel so alive!” So, that’s what I love about our River Walk. Our senses come alive. “Look at the trees! They look like rainbows.” “Smell! It smells so good!” or “Yuck, the mud smells so bad!” “Listen to the water!” “Ouch, this tree is so prickly!” “Look at the river shining. It’s like silver.”
I love that the children pushed themselves to walk a little further than was comfortable (about four miles) and braved crossing plank bridges across the river. We spotted ladybugs gathering for hibernation, identified all of our favorite trees (Oak, Aspen, Willow, Maple and Spruce), and also experienced a little local history ~ the site of the first Artesian well, a comparison of the university 100 years ago with today ~ and viewed some local art (a mural by Pat Siler, a local artist). We estimated. “How far do you think we have walked so far?” “How many ladybugs did we see?” “How many toadstools do we think are right here?” “How tall is the Willow tree?” We measured the circumference of trees. We compared – leaf shape, bark. But above everything else that I loved today is that we spent an amazing day together as friends. Five hours together went so quickly! It was cracking! I leave you with an invitation to get kids outdoors as much as possible, and photos of our day, because a picture is worth a thousand words!