07 June 2009

Wide-Eyed Wonder

The straight-haired girl and I went out to the park today with her nature pack in tow. She has carted that thing everywhere since she got it for her birthday. I love, love, love the curiosity it has incited in her!

What a great present. I have to rave for a minute… She and the curly-headed girl both have one. They came with colored pencils, art gum erasers, kneadable erasers, drawing pencils, sharpeners, binoculars and a sketch pad. (Thanks, friend.) The girls have inserted nature guides, animal track identification sheets, and a whole bunch of other stuff that is totally unrelated in anyone’s mind except their own.

Anyway, there we were; trekking through the forest. She was chattering away a mile a minute. We startled a snake, and it startled us. As we settled into the hike she had to stop at every marker to identify our location and plot the rest of the trip. As she grew quieter, it was possible to hear more animals and spot them. We had to stop to press leaves and sit on every bench along the way. I was thinking, "Oh, to have that much wide-eyed wonder over the world in which we live. Why did I let myself lose that?"

And then it happened. I was walking, and she was dancing back to the beginning of the trail. (We were in a bit of a hurry to find the washroom.) As we were moving along quickly, we heard something scurrying in the brush. Then we saw it scamper away down the hill. I couldn’t immediately identify it, but it was large and moved like a weasel. After consulting the experts, we determined it to be a fisher. I was informed that fishers are rare in this area.

The first winter we lived here, I saw a Great Gray Owl. I’ve seen a bear sunning itself on a friend’s deck, loons galore, bald eagles, deer walking down the city streets, a gray wolf crossing the highway and now a fisher: In short, everything but a moose. And with each new animal I see, I realize perhaps I have not lost that sense of wonder after all.

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