One of the greatest things about being a father is the fact that you have the opportunity to relive your own childhood in an attempt to introduce your children to all of the things you used to love as a child. As has been seen here previously, I do this a lot. From superheroes to Star Wars, my kids have experienced a lot of what I enjoyed as a child (which just so happens to be things I still enjoy today).
Of course, one of the things I enjoyed most of all as a child was the outdoors. I would take every moment I could to be outside. As a young buck growing up in the Southeastern United States, there was plenty to do outdoors, and plenty of time to do it. We lived in a little suburban community for most of my childhood, but that area butted right up next to plenty of wooded areas. I would spent days upon days exploring these woods, finding new areas to hide, building hideouts, and overall just getting a good grasp of what the world my have hiding around me.
As I get older, I find the need to instill this sense of exploration onto my children. The immediate area we live in may be mostly city-scape (albeit small-town America city-scape), but the amount of parks and forestation that still abounds is rather amazing, although no where near as rural-feeling as my hometown.
This weekend, during naptime, I took my daughter off on a little fishing trip here in town. Eau Claire has a fantastic amount of waterways in which to fish, and I’m always hunting for a new spot in which to hide out and hope to find a cache of swimmers. So, I took her exploring. The area we fished in this weekend wasn’t any place new for me, I’ve gone to this spot several times, however, it was new for her.
But the important part of it wasn’t as much the newness of it all as it was the fact that it took a great deal of climbing to get to. As we made our way down the steep, rock-covered hill (well, I may have had to carry her a fair portion of the way), she kept asking me if we were going to go into the woods. . . to which I had to assure her that the trees that surrounded us on every side were, in fact, the woods themselves. We had to crawl through fallen trees and walk through a bit of water before we finally made it to my little hidden spot, a beach under a bridge which was not only secluded, but surrounded on all sides by barriers, meaning that we had a spot all to ourselves in which she could run around freely without me being afraid of where she might go.
As we sat on the riverbank, finding very little for fish, we played in nature, enjoying each other’s company as we let the worms crawl around our fingers, looked at bugs, and threw sticks and stones into the water. When we would actually catch a fish (of which our final haul was only two that were worth bringing home with us), she would name them and we’d look them over, examining all of the things that made them different from other fish. Her fish identification is getting pretty darn good as well, seeing as she was able to identify the blue gill before I even had it off the hook.
I love that my children’s interest in the world around them continues to grow. We yearly go hunting for morel mushrooms in some of the nearby forests, and my children run through the tall grass, seeing what types of wildlife they can kick up as they go. And water. . . they both love to just sit and stare at the water, talking to me about what sorts of secrets may hide below.
And, of course, it’s even more exciting when, after a long day of fishing, we can go home and cook up our catch and taste the fruits of our labor on that same day.
The world is such an amazing and wonderful place, and I’m happy to make the time once again to explore it myself, but it’s even more fun to do so with my children, getting to see everything fresh again.
My daughter likes to call these little excursions our adventure dates. And I hope to find the time to take as many a possible before her interests wane and she gets sucked into being behind a computer screen at all times.
Anyways, I’ve got work to do behind one of those same computer screens. I hope you all had a great weekend, and have a good week.