Sappiness alert. You've been warned.
Never, ever will I take where I live for granted. Every morning I wake up, look out the window at the oaken hills of the adjacent nature preserve and think "Holy shit! This is beautiful! I will never take this for granted!"
Yesterday Ep, Leelo, Merlin, Iz, and I hiked from my place to nearby Handlley Rock. It was warm yet breezy, and the kids were fine with the two-mile trek. The area surrounding the rock was almost unrecognizable, completely overgrown after the extended winter rains, but we quickly sussed out the trail and wound our way over to the caves. As the kids hopped about pretending to be bears, Ep and I looked out over the glowing late afternoon hills and I felt soothed and peaceful. All it needed for perfection was a hip flask. What I got instead was a truly horrific diaper from Leelo, but the view was still so gorgeous that I just didn't mind. We're going to be potty training the little bugger in April anyhow.
Other mellow, soul-nourishing Saturday events: Mucking around in the garden, planting white coral bells and mutant dahlia bulbs with Iz; relocating the smelly worm bin to a location non-adjacent to our front door; seeding California poppies, amaranth, and coreopsis willy-nilly all over the yard; a much-savored cheese break; preparing dinner (vegan Thai veggie stew) with Ep to keep me company. I can work in the kitchen indefinitely if someone's there to talk with me. All good.
The latest incident in what I fear will be a life-long pattern: Iz told me the other day that there were three types of amphibians: frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. I consider myself to be relatively well-versed in vertebrate morphology, but was at a loss here. "What is a caecilian?" I asked. "They look like worms!" she said. "Oh," I said, "are you sure you don't mean legless lizards?" She said that it might be possible, and flounced off. Then yesterday she asked me to read her Life Cycle of a Frog book with her, and guess what is says on the first page? "There are three types of amphibians: frogs, salamanders, and the worm-like caecilians."
How could I not have remembered these critters? Is my brain finally turning to stew? It is possible. I am not one of those people who retains everything--if it hasn't been accessed recently, my brain will delete it. I used to be able to read music and play the flute well, speak and write decent French, edit manuscripts, etc., etc. Now my skill set covers wiping small boy bottoms and associated tasks.
However I did not reveal any of this to Iz. I told her instead that I couldn't believe I didn't remember about caecilians, that I'm actually quite smart, and that I learn new things every day, just like her. I do not need contempt from a five-year-old. She admitted that I do indeed know many things, and that I had been right about only male and queen ants having wings, and then only for swarming. So no eye-rolling about her silly mom just yet.
Today we will have another happy day. We will go to church, the first time in months for me as I don't trust the nursery workers to watch Leelo (he's escaped before). I usually send Seymour and Iz as our girl adores Sunday school. Anyhow, Seymour volunteered to work in the nursery this morning so Leelo will be fine there. Later on Godfather M will visit us. I have secret plans to drag everyone out to gorgeous Franklin Point. We shall see.