Yesterday we took advantage of the beautiful weather Friday afternoon. We joined the Bergen’s and armed with nature notebooks, binoculars, magnifying glass, and of course….bug catchers, we headed to the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary. After burning off a bit of energy, thanks to a really cool rope swing the kids found, we stopped occassionally to draw some plants and animals and check them out with the spy glass . What surprised me was how the kids developed their own interest along the way. They would run ahead quite boisterously, scaring all the wild life, and by the time I rounded the corner and caught up with them I would find them all lined up with their binoculars silently checking out the birds in the marsh….watching them intently. They would do this continuously along the way. Occasionally they would stop on their own initiative and record in their nature notebooks some of the specimans they had crossed paths with. They needed no guidance from us. In fact, they found things I wouldn’t have found myself: a little creek off the path, a massive rock to climb, places where burrowing animals must live, interesting leaves, strange insects, birds hiding in the marsh. The only thing I actually contributed was showing them how to make a bark rubbing. How different the walk would have been if we had to line up single file and try to listen quietly while they were guided through the trails, being told to be quiet, and stop talking, and no running and absolutely no playing. Which would you remember?