“What are you going to do with your nature?” my four- and six-year-old kids asked each other in the back seat of the car on the way home from our walk. They had each gathered a little baggy of acorn caps. This cute chatter was a far cry from their earlier protests about being dragged away from their current favourite hobby–rooting for their parents playing a vintage game of Supermario Brothers using the wii–to be forced to take a walk. Walks. Which they hate. And never like.
It’s so funny how kids get these ideas stuck in their heads, but every time we get outdoors, they absolutely love it. They become delightful, creative creatures. Get outdoors: suddenly the girls are engineers, building canals through the creek’s island. My son is thinking of ideas for sculptures. Everyone is having a great time!
I was blown away by my son, who found a stone in the shallow creek that could paint a stone red, just like he remembered seeing Andy Goldsworthy do on Rivers and Tides.Â He called me over and there he was using a wet stone to colour a rock. We couldn’t find any other stones like it; perhaps it is a piece of brick.
The kids weren’t the only ones having fun. I was thoroughly enjoying taking photos, finding nice stones. I didn’t even mind that I slipped and slid down a muddy hill for 10 metres, and had to walk around wet and muddy all afternoon. I used to love picking up pretty stones and shells on our beach in Ontario, so when I first moved to BC, I found that the rocks were quite uniform, with less diverse colours than home. I decided to challenge that idea and make a rock rainbow. It gave me a great way to connect with my niece, who enjoyed helping me find the colours I was looking for.
This whole day reminded me of when I was a girl in Ontario. We used to spend a lot of time playing in our woods while my parents made maple syrup for a few weeks in February or March each year. My sisters and I used to play in a creek. We knew every twist and turn. We had special stones and roots we used to jump on.
I have strong memories of one year where an area of the woods–always very muddy in spring– became so swampy that it was transformed into an enchanted land of islands. Each tree’s roots formed a tiny islet in a still black sea. I think that is why I find this little island in the creek here so enchanting. It’s an island of gravel that has formed against a fallen tree that has several mature cedar trees growing from it.
Another project my son and I made was this big circle using the spiky grasses behind him.