Friday, September 26, 2014

A Natural Refresher

After a long week in the classroom, fatigue sets in. Twenty-four kindergarten friends can certainly take a lot out of a person. They are adorable and amazing to work with and I am lucky to be so blessed, but they are also exhausting. I was tired after running the mini-marathon last week. That tired paled in comparison to kicking off a week of assessments, the beginning of literacy stations, assessments, writing workshop, and did I mention assessments?

What is a tired teacher to do? How can I get re-charged with a night of "daddy-duty" staring me in the face?  Simple solution. Take a hike.

I love hiking anytime, though venturing out in autumn is definitely my favorite. The colors superb. The smells refreshing. The chill in the air invigorating.

Another aspect that makes fall hiking even more memorable for me is the chance to spend time with my very mobile toddler. I may have spoiled her by taking out on many, many hikes over the summer. Especially since she now occasionally fights me tooth and nail when I try packing her into the hiking carrier. She wants to explore freely, without the constraints of being carried. I don't blame her. Nature is an amazing thing and there's no better way to experience it than by taking it in in it's purest form. Seeing her rustle up leaves for the first time, watching her stop to hear the call of a bird, and hearing her adorable "ooh" when she feels the trunk of a tree. . .  ..all priceless.

On this brisk Friday evening, we enjoyed a quick two-mile haunt through Pike Lake. Though she hoofed it mostly on her own, her occasional request to be picked up was certainly well-received by a father slowly seeing his daughter grow so quickly and occasionally missing the helplessness of her younger moments. Kicking off on the blue trail, we connected to the astronomy trail before cutting across to the path that leads to the tower on Powder Hill. Once there, it was amazing to take in the spectacular seasonal color change.

Greeting every person and four-legged friend along the way, my daughter seemed so happy among the trees. Enamored with the trees, she let out  a thrilled squeal when she came across something new and exciting. From a large rock to a tiny acorn, everything intrigued her. Every twist and turn in the trail offered a new opportunity, a new experience, a new perspective.

I know I have plenty of time to enjoy each new adventure with my daughter. I am grateful to have the opportunity to do so. I am learning a lot each time I head out to a state park, nature center, or trailhead. I am growing in my zest for life and my fascination with the splendor of the natural world. Still though, I must cherish these times and encourage others to do the same.

So, get out there. Do whatever it is that refreshes you. Live it. Share it. And use the refreshing revival it provides to make tomorrow a better day.

I feel ready for Monday already. Re-charged and refreshed, just hoping to inspire my kindergartners to learn and grow from their experiences in the same way I am.

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