It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’ve spent a good part of the last half hour trying to coax the wood stove back to humming with heat. Kevin is laying down with with 3 year old O and 23 month G. They each had a hard time with sleep tonight for whatever reason and joined their dad in here on the couch. I was up with 3 month old P who is now happily sleeping with a full tummy. My bed till the ceiling in our bedroom is repaired is our twin sized pull out couch also here in the living room. Since I’m awake anyway getting the fire going again and it is so nice and quiet, I thought I would share a little adventure I had this morning.
With the bitter cold we have had lately, the work done on our leaky roof, and the mothering of a baby and a couple of toddlers, I’ve been quite well closed up in this lovely little house of ours. So getting out for a walk around our property this morning was a treat. Kevin was home as it was Saturday and was at the job of cooking oatmeal for the little guys while the other boys were having a slow start to the day, so I was free to take a few minutes for myself, stretch my legs, and get some fresh air.
I headed out to walk the quarter mile selection of paths that travel around the perimeter of our property. I’ve always been thankful for these paths where I can walk through the woods and our open yard, and feel not so far away from the house. A safe place to walk when the babies are sleeping or kids are playing in the yard.
For seven years I’ve walked this path and occasionally Kevin, the kids, and I have explored the tree filled hill beyond it leading down to an open field and shallow pond on our neighbors property. Beyond that is more woods belonging to other folks and a sugar bush belonging to a friend of ours, but we never ventured that far.
Today something urged me to follow the tracks of deer and other small animals into the dark woods beyond our path and down the hill. With a little trepidation I stepped over the last vestiges of barbed wire that lined our property, its use to keep in grazing sheep from 2 owners ago, no longer needed. Once down the steep and somewhat icy hillside I started off to the right following the same animal tracks I had found leading into the woods from our path.
The freedom and sense of adventure I felt after being cooped up with frigid cold and kids for weeks on end was palpable with each step I took and snow covered tree branch I ducked under. I made it to the furthest edge of our neighbors property a “Do Not Trespass” sign belonging to the folks next to them stood nailed to a tree. I stopped there and climbed a nearby rock to get a little higher and looked out at the snowy landscape. The perfect day for a hike, six inches or less of snow pack and temperatures somewhere in the twenties. It felt downright balmy with the effort of the hike warming me and then the comparison of the frigid temperatures of last few weeks.
I then headed west, down through a dozen or so clusters of young trees skirting the pond to the other side where I had never walked before. It felt like such an audacious thing to do. I had never been on the other side. Looking back at the hill that hid our house and the vast expanse of land and the snow covered pond before that was kind of exhilarating. I thought along the way, “I hope no one comes looking for me.”, they would have expected me to be on our trail. The kids would tell Daddy they couldn’t find me. Kevin’s a smart guy though, he would follow my tracks in the snow and see that his wife had veered off to where the wild things go.
I continued on making it to the bird condo perched atop a tall pole. I had only seen it from across the clearing before. Yet here I was right next to it now. Up close I saw just before it was a path, actually almost a road, though snow covered. I saw bootprints that weren’t my own in the snow for the first time since I had left on this adventure. I decided to follow them down the wide snow covered path. I surmised it was part of our friends sugar bush. The rusty wire fencing wrapped around saplings to keep deer from eating the bark off the sugar maples before they got big enough to tap were a pretty clear clue. The path went on to open up to a small clearing and then led back into the forest and unknown adventures.
It felt so amazing that this existed and that for seven years I never dared to venture this far from the known and yet today was the day in my little life, that I did.
I decided not to go any farther. I was so excited by what I found and wanted to head back and share it with everyone. I quickly back tracked using my own bootprints in the snow to guide my way to our front door. Opening it and walking in was like going from air conditioning to a ninety degree day. Baby P was crying in his bassinet, Kevin was on the floor changing G’s diaper, C was at his cubbie and looked up remarking “oh you were outside?”, the other boys where either at the table finishing up breakfast or quietly busy in an activity in another room.
No one knew I had been where the wild things go… next time I’ll bring them with me.