For the last four years, we have lived near a beautiful park with a great variety of trees and wildlife, a bubbling creek and a little playground. There is a grassy meadow lined with towering trees. There are animal pens that house goats and sheep for members of the 4H club. There is a serene path through the forest where you can hear birds chirping and leaves rustled by animals scampering about in the overgrown bushes. There are tangled branches, beautiful wildflowers and -if you are lucky enough to spot one- deer! Rays of sunshine shine through the trees along a mostly shady trail.
We walk there often to, as Charlotte Mason says in Home Education (Vol 1, p 44), “take in what they can of the beauty of earth and heavens.” We have visited in a variety of seasons and the kids love going to this “Purple Slide Park,” as they call it (named for the quite zippy slide that is, appropriately, purple). They enjoy climbing on the play equipment and sliding down the slide and they love standing on the bridge, dropping leaves into the creek and watching them rush away. They delight in racing across the meadow and picking little fragile white and purple wildflowers. They love wading in the shallow waters of the creek and tossing pebbles and rocks into it. Here are the highlights of our past couple of years of visiting this beautiful place.
This was one of their earlier experiences with the creek- it was cool, in early spring.
X-man, our little comedian, making a funny face as he is climbing on the (filled in) little well near the entrance to the park.
X is often forging ahead, deciding where our next adventure lies.
There are many little views of the creek down the tangled path.
X-man loves going to the creek!
Little Princess K really enjoyed getting her fingers deep in the dirt, gathering little pebbles to toss in the water.
They are watching what the water does when they throw rocks of different sizes in the creek. They are amazed!
The creek is cold, but that does not stop my kids! In the cool springtime or hot summertime, shoes are off in a flash and quickly, they are knee deep in the water! (Sometimes deeper, in the case of my son!)
The view of the beautiful creek in the summer with the sun shining and the full, glorious, green bushes and trees. It is quite a refreshing place to be. It reminds me of what Charlotte Mason said in Volume 1 (p 61), "Let them once get touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life."
X-man loves to climb on the rocks and jump from rock to rock to get to the other side. He is fascinated by trying to see as far as he can down the creek. I am delighted with the good exercise and the great experiences he's having with the rocks and the water and the trees. He likes being "awesome."
The past few months, we have seen a "daddy" duck and a "mommy" duck in the same place every time we visit. We watched how they searched for food in the water and then we went home and looked up Mallard Ducks in our World Book Encyclopedia. The kids were very interested to know when there would be babies and where their home was. How exciting to be able to observe these creatures over the course of a few months!