Sunday, July 15

Sabbath Adventure

"Are we going on an adventure, Mama?" Five year old Andrew tread behind Annaliese who followed me as I frustratingly tried to follow a narrow deer trail going up the hill of berry bushes behind our family's cabin this afternoon. Andrew's's life consists of adventures, whether it's constructing swords out of sticks and dueling or diligently acting out a scene from a Narnia tale with his Play-mobiles.

Nap time in the cabin was a joke. What did Sean and I expect, putting three wild hearted children to lie down on bunks one above the other in the middle of a beautiful day? There were giggles and teasing and finally I put down my work and recruited the older two for a hike in the woods.

When we reached the top of the hill, thorns and briars behind us, we stood on the ridge that runs through part of our property and, now that Sean has cut down some pines, has a beautiful view of the trout streams and beaver flats below.

The sun was half way down in the sky, a warm breeze was blowing adventure into our breath, and I pointed out a beaver dam to the children. "Do you want to go see it?"

From the ridge, the property juts sharply down. I don't know if it qualifies as a cliff, but it is very steep and mossy. The three of us cautiously side stepped and half slid down to one of the little beaver streams below. Since beavers have welcomed themselves into our creeks, there are probably fifty new little diversion streams running through the flats, pooling and cascading in hundreds of mindless circles.

We hopped some rocks and began making our way through chest high grasses with Annaliese and Andrew making up songs about "going through the jungle" to entertain me on our way. We crossed about three or four streams before making it to the beaver dam. It was half finished and lay there, bleach white from the sun, almost looking abandoned. A few years ago a neighbor helped himself to trapping on our land. Is it trapping season? I don't even know. I kept these thoughts to myself as Annaliese and Andrew walked across the beaver house. There was another creek to cross, much to wide for hopping and off came our shoes, Annaliese's tights and Andrew's pants. I showed Andrew how to sling his pants around his shoulders to keep his hands free and how to tie his laces together on his boots and do the same thing with those.

After sinking down a good foot in silt in the beaver house water, I decided land was a better option. The big trout stream, I knew wasn't more than football field length away, and with the sun beating down on us without shelter of trees, swimming and wading seemed like a refreshing late afternoon activity.

An hour later we made it to the stream. "There is just no direct route across those beaver flats!" I told Sean later on. Seriously, we took our shoes on and off countless times, switching from bushwhacking through grass I couldn't see above or sliding over mossy rocks in the water.

But we made it. At one point Andrew had stepped backward without looking and when I turned around he was coming up blubbering from the water, leaves and mud all stuck in his blond hair and a look of complete innocent surprise on his little face. Somehow his sweatshirt and head were soaked but his behind was dry. Figure that one out.

Annaliese had a few episodes of screaming "snake!" and jumping wildly in no particular direction while Andrew said, "Aw, Annaweese, its juwst a stick!" And also by the time we made it to the trout stream every article of clothing the children had on was dripping wet from being dropped in or dragged into the mindless maze of streams.

After throwing them into a swimming hole and watching baby fish Andrew found ("I have hunting eyes, Mama!") we all sat down tired in the warm summer sun on a old part of the creek bed, now dried and piled with rocks from a flood last year. The heat radiating from the rocks was great and warmed our feet, chilled and sore from our adventure. We talked about some deer beds we had seen, with the swirls of grass matted down in circles. We talked about whether or not you would die if a beaver bites you (Andrew there) or how maybe if one bit you your finger would just fall off (Andrew again). And why did God make beaver flats so hard to cross. And why do beavers like to make ponds. ( Any answers here?) And how Ella and Aiden could never have come on our adventure because " they're too witttle, wight, Mama?" and "we're much bigger dem them." (Yes, Andrew has trouble with his l's and r's.)

Andrew had an hurt foot on the way back. Our Annaliese ran over to him and knelt down to look, soothing him by saying, "It's okay, Andrew, I'm almost like Mama, a nurse." It was a tender sibling moment.

By the time we dressed ourselves back in our wet clothing and hiked back to the cabin, my sweet Sean was waiting outside, hooting for us. I love that he worries about me and misses me. "I am my father's daughter." I reassure him. "I would be fine stuck in the woods."
And like their grandfather and father before them, my children have inherited a love for the woods and beaver dams and cold streams.
I think Andrew would agree, it was a lovely adventure.

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