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Nature at Hand

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

My daily activity of painting at the Riverwalk shows me a whole side of people enjoying unlimited free time, soaking up natural wonders. The usual kayaks, canoes and barely idling speed-boats today were joined by a huge, Southern-style paddle boat slip-slapping quietly past. Fisherman sit patiently along the banks anticipating a bite. My spot for painting today showed a split in the river and the back view of the Bark Park, an island accessible only by a Monet-style humpback bridge from the main road. Immediately, four scampering dogs caught my eye. They had found a way around the safety fence and were frolicking in the water, one of them doggie paddling like mad, what else? I laughed out loud. Up and down the hill they ran, disappearing among the trees, to re-appear in a few seconds at a different place----and, splash! back into the water.

My farm boy husband pointed out turtles just under the water's surface, birds by their proper names, a family of tiny ducks with mom bobbing along, dining on a protein-rich breakfast of bugs and mosquitoes. The pay-off was something hubby said he hadn't seen in fifty years---a weasel. This creature is sleek, long, shiny-wet and slithered and darted among the rocks. At one point hubby said it stood up on its hinds legs and looked at him eye-to-eye for a few seconds. Does a day get any more special? Yes! Behind me, more dogs strut along the walking path and their people so warm and open they define a new level of friendliness. All of us as one, united to handle whatever this strange world doles out.

Nature is rife with surprises and exciting new things to see first-hand. Bobbin-olive has a journal for you to enjoy with your children, called: Looking and Really Seeing. It's a scavenger hunt of sorts. It's self-guided once the idea is explained, pencils located and simple ground rules established. The prompts are things for the youngsters to find and sketch at the park or in town. Little ones need guidance to help them really see the wonders all around us and the time to begin making sure that happens is right now.

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