I had big plans this past weekend.
Originally I was going to take the boys skiing, but it was above 65 degrees for three days in a row. That’s not great skiing weather, but not a bad reason to change plans.
The real monkey wrench was a different issue – the boys found out this week that they’ve been invited to move on to the State level of competition with their school Robotics team. I’m very proud of that, and happy to support them! But it also meant dropping everything to do two team practices on the first spring-like weekend of the year, and on a holiday to boot.
So we adjusted.
Saturday, we spent the day with the Boy Scout Troop. We’ve got new Cubs “graduating” into the Troop in the next couple weeks, and one of our first trips after that is training for them – so this weekend was planning and practice on what and how to train most efficiently. Turned out to be a good day reviewing cooking, cleaning, shelter, ax and hatchet safety, fire building… My boys and one other had the assignment to teach fire safety and fire building, and it went well. Everything lit, including the unique methods. I’m going to convince them to run a post and video on that subject, and prove that kids can do some pretty cool stuff when it comes to creating fire. THEN, they went and practiced driving robots. So far, so good.
Sunday, I got them out for a little mountain bike riding, and a little woodland bushwhacking, hiking and navigating off-trail by compass and GPS. We found a big fence lizard basking in the warmth, we found the skeletal shell (nothing else) of an eastern box turtle, and we practiced tracking – deer sign, game trails, and evidence where people had been through before.
Monday, they spent the middle of the day with Robotics. Parents were in the way, so I went outside and found a quiet sit-spot, read a little – all the while letting the animals get accustomed to my being there. Before long I had cardinals, chickadees, a towhee, a nuthatch, a few sparrows, all flitting around and interacting while I just watched. Three male cardinals spent some time all showing off for a single female. It was quiet solitude, but I enjoy this more than “people watching”.
As I write this, I’m outside on the deck, the sun is going down, and I’m cooking in the dutch oven (and hopefully filming another Wilderness Chef episode, not sure I’ll have the daylight to finish). And I started the fire with a battery and steel wool, just like the boys taught me to do on Saturday. =)
As disappointed (initially) as I was to cancel the big plans, it’s been a great weekend, full of discovery, education, practice – and a lot of enjoyment in time spent outdoors. Spring is DEFINITELY in the air, so hopefully I’ll get to do more of it.
The moral: even if you can’t make a big trek, there’s a lot to be gained just by being deliberate, and stepping out.
Get Out There!