I have a lot of fun getting down in the dirt and exploring with the kids. The kids are a bit reserved at the start as this was the first time they met me, but once we started finding ants, and stink bugs under the leaves and bugs running up the trees, it was game on. The curiosity in those kids kicked into high gear and I was discovering for the first time right there with them. To see the world through a child's eyes and discover new things is one of my most cherished and favourite things. It is through this discovery that we begin to connect with nature and have respect for it. And these little 4 year olds were fully engaged, looking through guide books and seeing who could find the next one.
So when I come across adults who never had that connection with nature, all I find myself able to do at the time is smile and nod.
On our way back from our exploring, covered in leaves, dirt and more dirt, we passed two adults who were looking on the other side of the small river. When they see I am with a pack of children, they increase their talk and warn us of the racooon across the river.
"Be careful, there is a raccoon over there on the other side. It is behaving weird as it is out in the middle of the day."
UM, ok, yes raccoons can be vicious, especially when cornered but that is when self perservation is at stake. And middle of the day? Well it was 11am. And did I mention it was on the other side of the river! Ha ha, in all my outdoor experience, I have seen some pretty amazing things, but a raccoon, walking on water or jumping in to swim over to us and attack us, I have yet to see.
BUT, I don't say anything, I just smile and nod and race to where they told me the raccoon was, with all the little ones in tow.
It took a while for the children to see what I saw, but when they did, we stood on the other side of the bank and watched the raccoon, climb up the tree and peer around the corner at us. We decided to call it Rocky.
It was climbing up the tree, and do you see that hole in the tree? What do you think is going on? Why do you think the raccoon is on that tree?
We watched on as we noticed a great foot hold on the tree for Rocky to push off for that long reach to the hole in the tree. What a smart raccoon, using foot holds to climb. A Genius!
Then all we could see was its little tuft of tail sticking up in the air in the hole. It was the highlight of the day for everyone. We now know where the raccoon sleeps during the day. So next time, we will return and see what other signs we can find around that tree.
Until next time... enjoy the outdoors and remember, if you are not dirty, you didn't have enough fun!