The kids have ZERO fear when it comes to catching and loving on any animal. Snakes, frogs, spiders, bees ( yes, you read correctly and YES the kids have been stung more times then I can remember), mice etc. In fact the other day the cornered a rat in a swamp and I literally didn't believe them until finally I gave in a walked over to where they were and sure enough they had a freaking rat trapped. We named him Cheddar and let him move on with his life but geesh!
Back to the point.
No book, no lecture, no lesson, no nothing ( is that even proper English? #whatevs) can take the place of going into the wild and catching a snake or sitting by a pond for hours on end waiting for a frog or a toad. Of course, I always follow up these kind of animal encounters with a good book or documentary on the subject but it pales in comparison to actually experiencing these animals, and their habitat, with all your own senses. Really breathing it in.
We try to visit the same places often to see how the habitat and animals change with seasons and over years. As much as we love to travel, we also love getting to know, and falling in deeply in love with tiny pockets of this magical place we call home.
When I think of these slow end of summer days I think of Mary Oliver's Poem The Summer Day.
Words we live by.
The Summer Day
Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do With your one wild and precious life?