Reflecting on adult roles in nature
Did I only think it or did I say it? Either way my five and half year old son pushed on with his idea. We were exploring a small creek after a fresh dump of snow.
"Let's build a snow bridge across!" he exclaimed as he patted down snow into the trickling water...mitts and all.
It didn't seem possible — the stretch before us was maybe three metres wide and a foot deep in the middle. What did seem possible is getting wet, cold and uncomfortable. Instead of poo- poo'ing his idea, which I considered, I decided to help him out until he discovered why it wouldn't work for himself...or got too wet first. Or so I thought I - in the end a new discovery awaited me!
We gathered and dumped clumps of wet snow at the bank of our project. He patted it down as fast as he could before the snow shipped downstream or disappeared all together.
"Quick!" he said.
I started to throw snow balls from the edge of our snow harvesting site towards my son to pat down onto our budding snow bridge. This was somewhat effective...but mostly fun for both of us. Then we tried rolling a large snow ball so we could just roll it into the creek to pat down but sadly the snow wasn't sticky enough.
Soon, I forgot about the impossible and we set out working together on the possible.
I started packing our red sled full of snow and dumping it before him so he could continue patting it down. He was now on his hands and knees and crawling onto our snow bridge about half way across. He made it to a rock big enough for him to stand on while admiring our success, rosy cheeks and all.
"I feel so alive!" he exclaimed
Eventually he made it to the other side of that creek on his snow bridge that morning. On the other side, my son sat triumphantly in a snow bank kicking snow into the creek.
I stood observing our now narrowing and shrinking bridge.
"It's time. You better hurry before there is no bridge to cross on anymore!" I said, my adult-self returning.
Onto his hands and knees and across he came. A hand, then a knee and whole leg landing into the creek as part of the bridge broke off. Laughing he was now standing on the bank watching our work dissolve into the water.
Wet mitts, knees, a leg, a foot and countless set backs and repairs were all part of our success....hmm I couldn't help but be absorbed in the metaphor of our morning; how Nature can facilitate life's lessons for our children — when given the opportunity.
Or reflecting on my own adult walls of what is possible and my son pulling them down beside me as our snow bridge began to stretch across.
Even more was noticing my son...and myself as our morning efforts began to break off and flow downstream and disappear — there was no disappointment, frustration or tears (which often follows our indoor project mishaps).
I was tickled by the nudge of Nature, having facilitated our morning, now reclaiming it. Leaving us without something material to show but something more stirring and permanent.
Thankful, I left that creek feeling more connected to my son, joyful and wet.