After the last week we’ve had of hot, thick, muggy air that’s so heavy it feels like you’re breathing through a straw, yesterday’s dry 75 degree weather was a welcome reprieve. Cooler breezes that blew lightly in the shade were equally balanced by the heat of the sun that gave me goosebumps as it hit my arms through the car windows on the way home. To me, it was pretty much the perfect summer day.
So I picked up Summer at daycare as usual, but instead of going straight home to play with bubbles and bikes in the driveway, we took a 5 minute drive to The Grove, one of my favorite places that just so happens to be a quick hop and a skip from my house.
“Wanna go see turtles?”
“And an owl?”
“And some froggies and birds and fishies?”
The whole way there she kept saying, “I’m gonna see turtles…..and goldfish…..and an OWL!” in the little excited toddler voice that ends higher than it starts, making everything sound like a question. I don’t know that she remembers any of the trips we took to The Grove last year but I took her often, mostly in the fall when the leaves were vivid shades of reds, yellows, and oranges all mixed together with bright blue skies as the backdrop.
Yesterday we wandered around the paths for a bit keeping an eye out for frogs and chipmunks and brightly colored wildflowers, though she didn’t particularly like the gravel paths that were surrounded on both sides by plants taller than her; she insisted I carry her through those parts. Mama arms of steel here, baby. We saw the owl sleeping near the nature center and found a bridge that went over a pond where little miss and I squatted down to get a closer look at the tiny little fishies swimming in the water. We saw some baby bunnies munching on the grass and then we stumbled upon my favorite little bridge that makes me feel like I’m out in the middle of the country.
We were going to wander around a bit longer than planned because we were given the insider scoop by a very sweet employee – the nature center with the turtles and birds had closed at 4:30, yet they were hosting a camper’s night and we could sneak in unnoticed at 6:00… and then the skeeters came. It was 5:40 and we were getting eaten alive by the mosquitoes, something we didn’t have to worry about on our trips here last Autumn when it was much cooler out and the buggies were gone. And once Summer watched me flip out and do a crazy dance trying to get away from a swarm that was buzzing past my ears, she actually asked to go in mommy’s white car. This, from the girl who cries her head off every time we leave the park or go inside to eat dinner after a few hours of outside playtime, let me know she was finished with nature for the day.
It may have been a short little outing and oh yes, next time there will be bug spray, but taking my girl out to experience life – new places and sights and sounds and colors and people and nature – doing it all with her is by far the best part of my day.
**And a nice little tidbit for those of you who get horrendous mosquito bites like I do complete with big white and red welts that swell to the size of a quarter and itch like a mo fo, I tried a tip last night that I had read on Country and Victorian Times Blog a while back about rubbing mosquito bites with the inside of a banana peel……WORKS LIKE A CHARM, I couldn’t even see the bite a few hours later. No kidding.**