Whilst on vacation (or so all my posts will start for a goodish while), my extended fam threw me a big cookout. Okay, it wasn’t just for me because my extended fam throws cookouts quite a bit – we’re all terribly close. But they did throw the cookout so I could visit with everyone and they could see the girls and me. (I realize it is no longer the other way around. Sigh.)
This year the cookout was held at Uncle Mike and Auntie Pam’s house, which has the benefit of both being at the top of a hill and having a fantastic little piece of woods right behind it. My cousin Hoot and I would spend hours and hours exploring and playing in those woods when we were younger, climbing on all the rocks, building forts, playing hide-and-seek and capture the hostage (pffft – flags are boring), and generally trying to stay out of trouble. (Much more difficult when you adore your older cousin and he has a penchant for thinking of wicked cool things to do…that will also happen to get you in some hot water. Meh.)
Towards the end of the afternoon, my sister suggested that the girls go for a walk in the woods. Somehow we talked my cousin Hillary into taking them, and then I went along for…well no reason other than I was nostalgic for “my” woods and the fact that they were my childrens.
I’m pretty sure Gracie and Bee fell every bit as much in love with exploring in the woods and I did when I was their age.
While I was busy marveling over how the patch of woods seemed to have shrunk (both in scope and in the size of the formerly very large rocks), the girls were stamping over hill and dale, searching out the very highest rocks to climb. Auntie Hillary helped them get the hang of the rock-climbing thing and laughed at all the silly things that came flying out of their mouths and the fearlessness with which they scampered.
Auntie Kim joined us after awhile, and soon the three grown-ups were struggling to keep up with the littl’uns.
The kiddos did make us come see a pool and berry bushes they had “discovered” – which turned out to be Aunt Patty’s house, which was just through the woods (and along a path) from Auntie Pam’s. They denied it up and down when I explained it was the pool where they had gone swimming before; they were so sure they had happened across a lost civilization in the middle of the woods.
And then they were off again and Kim, Hillary, and I were walking aimlessly, talking about all of our different adventures in the woods from when we were little.
We finally surfaced back at Uncle Mike’s, relieved to see the girls had found it before us (we honestly hadn’t heard them emerge), and about five minutes after we regrouped with everyone on the deck and grabbed a drink, Gracie and Bee asked if they could go back in. “We want to go climb on the rocks!” they chorused.
What I wouldn’t give for a bit of woods with some climbing rocks, an absence of poisonous rattlesnacks, no fireants, and wasps smaller than feral cats here in Tejas. They still wouldn’t measure up to my woods back in New England, but I think the girls would love them just the same.