Into the Woods

into the woods

Some days my son disappears into the woods.

Armed with nothing but his imagination and sense of adventure, he heads into the woods behind my parents’ house, often with his cousins and friends.  He’s done this on gorgeous summer days, drizzly evenings, and crisp snowy mornings.

I’m never exactly sure what he does there, nor do I care to go investigate.  I hear the occasional shout and the hard crack of wood against wood, so I know they’re safe.

The woods are the setting for untold stories, and the fallen trees are material for a fort. The darkness is a filter from the rest of the world.  There is just enough distance between this forest hideaway and the watchful eyes of parents to allow him freedom to invent without boundaries, to play without rules.

I can’t see my son when he’s in the woods, but this is what I know:  I know he is developing his independence, his creativity, and his appreciation for our natural environment.

He may come back to the house bug-bitten, scraped, or splintered, but he comes back happy.

Later…

I got to see the efforts of the boys’ hard work.  They proudly led me through the woods to their fort, and I was so impressed I went back for my phone so I could share what they had built:

Appreciation (With Gritted Teeth)

patio-door

I am still holding out hope that the snow will melt.

Quickly.

But in the meantime, I can’t deny a few appreciated moments that it has brought with it:¬† My children voluntarily playing outside, three times a day; frosted windows; an unexpected snow day; and the coziness of a fire in the wood stove.

dinky-car dinky-van

While cleaning up the yard, I found these two forgotten toys.¬† They’re muddy and rusted, having been left in the grass for quite some time.

It is a testament to the fleeting nature of childhood.

My children are not quite done with toys, but the value of these little dinky cars, as we call them, is diminished.

Nonetheless (or possibly because of this), I find them to be an interesting subject for my photos.

Sledding with Children

snowy-tree

A neighbor has a beautiful sledding hill.

Kids drag their sleds up the steep incline and wait their turns to come flying down. Sometimes they tumble into the deep snow before they make it halfway down; or they shout with victory when they reach the bank at the bottom.

It is good, old-fashioned winter fun, and of course I had to try it a few times.

My children’s delight made it worth every tumble.