Saturday, September 25, 2004

Communing With Nature

I am into scrapbooking and I create family albums. They come in really handy when the kids start whining that they're bored and "we never do anything fun." I slap those album pages on their lazy little laps and point to the pages and pages of cool stuff we do together. It gives me the perfect opportunity to launch into my "You have no idea how lucky you are to have been born into this family" speech. That's one of my favorites, and admittedly I sometimes get carried away. I bring this up because there are MANY pages that start with "Today we were going to finally clean the house, but it was such a gorgeous day we decided instead to ..." Fill in the blank with things like: Go to Jamestown, Climb the lighthouse at Cape Henry, Drive the Colonial Parkway, etc. etc. The Prince & Princess of Wails tend to get my point a bit better when confronted with such visual evidence. I figure that the house may always be a wreck, but what are they going to remember the most? Is it the clutter and floors that you shouldn't walk on in white socks, or will they remember the fun stuff. I'm betting my "Mother of the Year" award on the latter.

Today was one of those days. A gorgeous early fall day. Clear blue skies, light breeze, temps in the was a phenomenal day to celebrate being alive. Once again I was faced with a choice. I could crack the whip and force them to clean up this pig sty that we call home, OR we could go do something fun. Since I am just as lazy around here as my family, I voted for fun.

One of my favorite things to do with the family is the group bike ride. Unfortunately, C. and the kids all have mountain bikes with gears. I have always ridden C.'s old beach cruiser. ONE speed. That tends to become a problem when we're offroad and going up hill. The family has to wait for me to reach the top - sometimes I have to get off and walk the bike. Luckily our other recent favorite weekend activity is yard saleing. We love to hit the sales - yard, garage, estate, it matters not. We're always looking for a bargain, sometimes for stuff we sell on eBay eventually. I've said before that I'm really into china - hotel china, transportation china. Occasionally I run into some cool stuff that doesn't fit my collection, so I sell it. A couple of weeks ago we ran into the perfect bike. I'd been wanting a mountain bike so that we can all ride together (and I can keep up!), but I certainly didn't want anything too spendy. We were lucky enough to find a Diamondback Sorrento. It fit me. It had new tires, good Shimano breaks. TWENTY-ONE gears!!! We stole it for $20.

Since we recently got a bike rack for the vehicles, we had a choice to make today. Clean the disgusting house before social services stages a commando raid to condemn us....OR...much more fun, go for a bike ride. You know what we chose. #1 Son had already fled to his Dad's in anticipation of a house clean weekend (cause sometimes we actually do those), so C., I and the Little One headed off to First Landing State Park.

The Park is GORGEOUS! It is one of the oldest in the country. The colonists who eventually settled in Jamestown, up the river, landed on this property first. Since the early 1700s the land has been set aside for public use and has remained as such since, except for a brief period after the civil war. There are beaches, boat ramps, cabins and campsites, but the BEST features are the trails. The trails are amazing and incredibly well maintained. Lots of hiking trails and a mountain bike trail through miles of land that looks much like it did when the first settlers landed here.

The bike trail runs about 12 miles through the woods, over bridges and through wetlands. It's such a beautiful place and this was such a great day to be there. Our trip was marred only briefly when C.'s peddle shaft gave us trouble about 3 1/2 miles from the end of our trip. It really wasn't that big of a deal, though, and we'll get it fixed before setting off again. The bike trail winds around and up and down small hills. There are benches strategically placed for hikers and bikers to stop and enjoy the wildlife. At one point you go right by the water that skirts a wealthy section of town called Bay Colony. Martina Navratilova lives back there. Not only do people have boats tied up, but we saw a private helicopter pad, with the chopper parked on it. Man! What better way to avoid traffic!

Of course we were talking and just enjoying the day and our time together. At one point, all of us got quiet. I think we were riding with our own thoughts. I honestly was thinking about this post and was hoping I could capture the true beauty of the day. Riding along the dirt paths, the sunlight was dappled through the trees. There was a slight breeze, yet it was so quiet. We were communing with nature. Squirrels crossed our path, we even saw an otter or muskrat dive in the swampy water. We were surrounded by it, but it didn't smell like a swamp - these were wetlands. Spanish moss clung to the trees. We crossed bridges suspended over canals through the reeds and saw small natural waterfalls. It was amazing.

The silence was finally broken by the Little One. I swear to God out of the blue she said, "This would be a good place to hide a body." That kid scares me.


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Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

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