I took Arliss and Travis on a walk to the pond on Saturday. The weather was perfect for a leisurely stroll/hike through the fields. We brought the dogs along for the adventure and a basket for any unexpected treasures.
The boys rode their bikes up to the gate which marks the beginning of a field and the lane for the cows. Leaving their bikes, we began to hike through the recently harvested corn stalks. The golden shafts stood in silent attention, marking the places for each row. Occasionally the boys or I would find an ear of corn that the harvester had missed and we would add it to the basket.
Rover, our Brittany, ran ahead, behind, around, anywhere but with us. Arliss kept trying to call Rover to us but Rover would have none of it. Rufus, our Lab, stuck close to me, often just on my heels. Finally the field came to a barbed wire fence which meant we had to climb over or go under. The dogs found the spot to crawl under and the boys soon followed.
When Travis got on the other side he looked at me and said, "How are you going to get over?" I smiled and dropped to my knees, crawling under the wire just as they had. Sometimes it's good to surprise your kids. After the boys finished laughing with me at the silliness of it all, we continued through the cow pasture toward the woods.
The pond is surrounded by woods and wild rose bushes. It has been years since the cows were allowed to roam back to the pond, so the grass stands at least four feet high in some places. Rufus and Rover followed the boys through the woods and were quickly investigating the pond. I discovered some wild walnuts and put them in my basket for later.
Arliss and Travis went to work digging in the muck and mud for any treasures they might find. My basket soon held snail shells and the boys shirts and caps, as they grew too warm with all of their "work." The old dock was dilapidated and no longer extended out over the pond. The 2 x 8 planks lay on the shoreline, a worthy future task for the boys to tackle.
Someone had built a duck blind on the edge of the pond. The floor boards have rotted out, but the 2 x 4s that made the frame of the blind were still solid. I sat on the corner of the blind and took in all that surrounded me. The wind was blowing through the trees; sounding like a roaring waterfall. The warm sunshine gave the rustling grasses a golden glow and the birds that chirped and sang as they perched in the tree branches made the whole moment idyllic.
Some of the animal prints on the shoreline proved that this was a common watering spot for deer, raccoons, and various birds. The boys explored further past the pond, discovering areas where animals had bedded down. Arliss pointed out the red-tailed hawks that circled overhead. We called excitedly to each other as the hawks screeched and swooped over the fields. Our necks were strained from trying to keep the hawks in sight as they climbed higher and higher only to dive toward the earth.
Finally, it was time to go. We called to our dogs, who would be needing a thorough bath, and headed back toward the house.