The greenway trails are right outside the back door at our current home. You literally walk through the backyard, teeter over the rock bridge and join up with the hiking trails that wind through the woods. When we rented this house sight unseen I didn't realize how much this would affect me, but it's made a huge, huge difference in my day to day. I hike daily. I listen to the river daily. I watch for hawks and deer prints. I hear chattering squirrels and sometimes owls. I keep vigil over the changing trees. The sound of my footsteps has become my meditation. I find peace.
Living in the woods has also deeply affected my parenting. I try to go outside and walk the trails with Veda at least once a day. We notice things together. We wander. And today was one of those days. I was feeling tired so I asked Veda if we could go sit by the river and toss stones. It's a great activity because I can relax with a cup of tea while she climbs on the rocks and gets some energy out as she's finding the perfect stones to throw.
So as I was sitting and loving the warm sun on the back of my neck I started noticing bright terra cotta and ochre colored rocks peeking out of the mud. I showed Veda and we started to gather them. We noticed some were smooth and some had texture. There were different sizes and angles and layers. Some crumbled easily. You could draw on bigger rocks with a few of the brighter orange ones. We wondered what kind of rocks they could be and decided to look it up later (our "look it up later" list is enormous.) In any case, it turned out to be a pretty little collection.
After that she moved on to gathering her own collection of sticks, and I started seeing long, thin rock shapes. The more I stared the more I saw. There were at least two dozen that I could easily dig out and line up, which is what I did. I'm not sure why they were this shape. Does the river wear them in that pattern? Did they break off into similar shapes serendipitously? I don't know. It's fun to wonder about though.
We left our little collections there on the rocks for other hikers to find. We hoped that they would add to them. I guess we'll have to wait and see.