On Nature

We live in a world where volcanoes have feet and personalities, mold grows in families and the members have names, and the Crab Nebula — where Claire wants to go — is also named Lily and is very friendly. Did you know that there are blue volcanoes that produce blue lava, and that blue lava is cool like ice? Claire is insatiably curious, and for each new concept we go search on the web and look at images, and I read about it to her. Even though we’ve shown her photos of mold, for example, she insists they are like ferns. Her imagination is amazing.

Yesterday we went for a hike at Uvas Canyon County Park. Her empathy is blooming, and it’s heartwarming to observe. We saw a sign pointing out poison sumac, and as we walked away Claire blew it a kiss. I asked her why, and she said she was going to blow kisses to all poisonous trees to be friendly. And later we saw a sign explaining that rattlesnakes live in the area, that they are an important part of the community, and to be cautious. Claire thought the drawing of the snake looked sad, and she wanted him not to be lonely. Nevertheless, I assured her, the snake likes to have alone time, and we need to respect the woods by not wandering off the path or putting our hands into places we can’t see into.

When we started our hike, first we explored the bark of a madrone tree:

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We passed a tree with an interesting sign. We were unable to see the bees, but we saw a spot on the trunk high up where a large limb had broken and left a big gap, and we guessed the bees might be there.

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Daddy pointed out the roots on this tree. How often to you get to see what a tree looks like underground? Claire found the roots a little scary and also said they look like a maze.

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The stream burbled as we walked, and we enjoyed the variation of rock. The water flowing over the black rock was eyecatching.

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The trail was uphill, and Claire was getting hungry and tired. We stopped often. Our explorer made herself at home in the dirt. She found acorn caps, a feather, and interesting leaves. She took a dirt bath — handfuls of dirt thrown up in the air over herself!

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When she wasn’t taking a rest, she was doing this!

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The watched the dance of sun and shade.

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We looked closely at how nature had arranged her designs.

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We noticed how the sky was reflected by the water, and how leaves made a dent on the surface.

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It was idyllic to sit on the bank and listen. I accidentally dislodged a moderately sized rock. At first I tried to place it back. It had been sitting there for many years, I’m sure. I pondered how all the rocks had probably been where they were for hundreds of years or more. If I threw the rock into the stream, I would change the way things had been for centuries. Do you ever ponder that when you’re in nature? I decided to plunk the rock into the water, where it will likely stay for another era.

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Not all rocks were arranged by happenstance. To support the trail, park employees long ago built a wall. What captured our attention is how thoroughly moss had made a home of it.

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We reached Upper Falls, but Claire for some reason was scared. There was a small ledge and wood fence, and perhaps this made her nervous.

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So we continued up to Basin Falls. It was possible to climb up close to the basin, although Claire decided to wash rocks instead.

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They needed a thorough scrubbing!

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We looked closely at the water, and how droplets made rings. The stream was clear as glass.

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We spent many, many minutes at the edge. She threw small stones, leaves, and dust into the water. She tried to hit a larger rock with a small one and cheered when she succeeded!

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On the last leg of our hike, Claire wanted to really get into her exploration. Since I carry spare shoes, undies, and leggings in the car, this was not a problem. She pretended she was a gazelle at the water’s edge.

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It was a beautiful day; being in nature made us all mellow and happy. We drove on to see Uvas Reservoir.

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The county allows fishing (catch and release), and Claire wants to learn. So do I! I never did try it out as a kid. We made reservations to camp at Uvas Canyon later in the fall, our first camping excursion. Now we just need to gather our supplies. We’re all very excited about this! It’s such a blessing to live this close to wild spaces.

Explore posts in the same categories: Education, Journal, Motherhood, Nature, Recreation, Regional

2 Comments on “On Nature”

  1. Kathy in San Jose Says:

    I absolutely LOVE how you show Claire to be observant and learn about herself and her world, but still use her imagination, all at the same time! Great job, Mom & Dad!

  2. Mom/Grandma Says:

    I could almost wish be a little one again when it all was new!

    Isn’t our world unique to all the wonders and senses we could possibly experience?
    What a gift to be able to realize this!!! So happy to hear it is part of your lives:-)

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