During the long, summer holidays, it’s not always easy to keep children amused. Getting to explore and enjoy the outdoors may seem like fun to some–I speak for myself. So, I decided to see if we could find something interesting to do in and around a nearby wood and its stream. It was blissfully cool, so heat would not be an issue.
We took our bikes and put on our helmets and off we went. We headed downhill, towards a wooded path and reached the first of two wooden bridges to look to see what life was there. Nothing much was in the water, but a chipmunk ran across our path. “Eek! A chipmunk. I don’t like chipmunks. Let’s get out of here!” So, on we pedaled. Within yards, nature sprang up on us again, as a snake came across the path. I do not like snakes, but I had to hold back my natural dislike and say “Ooh, look, there’s a snake!” My rising second grader screamed: “I don’t like snakes! Let’s get out of here!” We pressed on, but I had a feeling that our day with nature was not going to be what we could both agree on as fun. The main part of the stream, which I knew had some turtles, was still a good way off, but I had a feeling we would not get that far.
A date to go to the pool with some neighbouring children had already been set, so as time was pressing, I thought better to cut my losses and head back home to make sandwiches for my little one’s lunch. We pedaled up a little hill and were just at a cross roads with the main walking-biking path. We saw a pair of speeding bikers approach, and were waiting for them to cross, when suddenly we heard the sound of metal on tarmac and a body flying through the air. One of the cyclists had hit a hump on the path and was now lying on the ground, just beside his bike. “What happened, Daddy?” I was not sure but I dismounted to see if the rider was alright, and I picked up his bike as I checked. He was scratched and said he was a bit winded. His riding partner, who had been ahead, was walking back towards him, too, and looked perplexed. A few moments later, they were ready to set off again, and we did likewise.
As we guided our bikes back up the hill, I could hear the muttering coming from my fellow biker. “It’s too dangerous out here. I don’t think I want to come here again.” I tried to stay with the positive notion that comes from seeing that life is full of surprises. However, I think that next time we head out for a little encounter with nature, I need to send a scouting party ahead to make sure that all is safe, sound, and animal-free :-).