Monday, October 30, 2017

knowing my way around

I listened in on a conversation between my daughters this week-end. My younger girl had been driving to her sister's house and she noted how she felt a swell of nostalgia as she drove the same route that would have taken her to her own childhood home. (My older daughter lives not too far from where they grew up.)

None of us -- not my daughters nor I -- are especially parochial in our orientations. They've traveled and they've lived for many years on the eastern coast. Me, well, you know me: if given a chance, I will fly to the other side of the ocean at a snap. And yet, in many ways, we are all attached to Madison. The littlest one got married here. The older one moved back here. Me -- well, I've never left and I never want to leave, Ed's suggestion that we relocate to New Zealand notwithstanding.


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Madison is not a large city. I got some ribbing from family and friends when I settled here. I can't believe this is where you chose to live -- my father said during one of his infrequent visits (why come here? what's there to do?). But the longer I live here, the more I like living here. (Though the farmhouse is in a rural landscape, we are fewer than two minutes from the boundary line with Madison, so I don't think I've quite abandoned the city.)

One benefit of never leaving a place that has been home for much of your entire adulthood (and into your senior years!) is that you get to know nearly everything about it. Take October: I know that in the first week or two, going to the Arboretum will be worth your while. It's gorgeous then! (But not in all segments of this vast space! I know which are the best for a quick, colorful peak!) Come Halloween, I know to switch my focus: the best spot then is Owen Woods (aka Owen Conservation Park). It's astonishingly beautiful!

I have an appointment close to Owen Park in the morning and afterwards, I have a wee bit of time to kill before I have to pick up Snowdrop. It's a no-brainer. I head to Owen Woods.

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It's cold today! Near 40F (right about 4C) and windy! But, in the noon hour, the sky clears just occasionally and in any case, I'm walking briskly!

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It is a gorgeous woodland...

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... and prairie.

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The entire park is nearly always empty and I think how lucky I am to have it in my pocket for these small adventures.

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When I pick up Snowdrop, I consider returning with her to Owen Woods, but the weather deteriorates significantly and I decide to stick to more familiar routines. They include walking to the park...

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I bundle her against the winds and she is just delighted to play, wrappings and all...

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But after a while, she admits to being cold.  It could be that she is tired (no nap today). I surely am happy to retreat. Even with mitts, cap and my winter jacket, I am just barely pleased to be outside.

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We come back to the farmhouse and we continue our game of "school."

Want to draw with me?
Of course I do!

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Nap time! Snack time! Group time! Potty time! Book time! -- We go through all the familiar sequences of her school day.

Outdoor ball game time!

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I have a book that I picked up for Snowdrop. It's called "This Beautiful Day." It hit a chord with me because nearly every day when the little girl and I walk her school neighborhood, I sing to her a (made-up) song about how beautiful is the day when she and I walk together. The book, too, considers even the most cloudy, blistery days as being quite possibly very beautiful

I would say that today is like that: cold, blustery, sometimes wet. But so very gorgeous.