My sister challenged other bloggers to take her seven posts in seven days challenge (well, I guess the idea wasn't hers, but the fact that she is doing it makes it hers) and I decided to take her up on that since I've been such a blogging flake lately. Let's see if I can make it all seven days!
Okay, so today, I'm blogging about a field trip we took up into the Sandia Mountains to hike the Tree Springs Trail (some, not all). I won't tell you about every detail because I know that I can get pretty tedious, but I wanted to mention some highlights and I'll break up my text with a few photos from the day. Feel free to check instagram for others I posted there (just click the little square camera icon on the right for a web version).
Yes, these are my feet. You can tell by the way my feet roll outwards when I walk. This is me, getting some exercise since I have been really bad about that since S left home (face it, I've been bad at most everything lately -- but I'm doing better more recently).
The nice thing about getting higher in elevation is that nature seems to get richer than down on the high-desert floor. We could hear the birds tweeting in the trees and that sound just reminds me so much of living in New England and the days when I took time to photograph my favorite bird friends there. This was the first Nuthatch we saw and then another one flew right in front of me like he was posing for a picture. I was so happy.
We loved all the beautiful wildflowers along the path and even the greenery was just plentiful and lovely. We were thrilled to come upon some patches of clover, where we discovered multiple four-leaf clovers! I have never actually seen one before today. While I don't believe in luck (I believe in blessings), it's still fun to find something that seemed nearly impossible.
This one pictured above was one four-leaf clover that J found. She asked me to carry it on the hike (uh, no ... but...); I decided to carry it between my phone and my case so that it was getting flattened out instead of crumpled. It'll keep better this way and we can smash it between books now that we're back home.
Along the hike, we observed and discussed many things: clovers, birds, nests, tree rings (and their meaning), termites, larva, wildflowers, lichen, moss, tree sap, fungus, why Mama has a hard time breathing up there in the thinner air (or anywhere) and my favorite moment was when J was kicking some limestone rocks because she thought there might be diamonds underneath.
I explained to the kids that diamonds are gathered in mines or deep caves because they are compressed coal and that's where coal is found. I explained how when coal is put under pressure for a long time, a diamond is formed. Then, in a moment of clarity and inspiration from the Spirit, I explained how we are like lumps of coal for most of our lives. But over the years of our life and the constant "pressure" or guidance of God, we become like diamonds just as we cross over the threshold from this world into heaven. They all oohed and ahhed over that concept and I felt like it was probably the most profound thing that came out of my mouth all day (face it, all month).
Oh yeah, it was just three kids because H is back to staying home when we go adventuring. I told him this morning that I kind of miss the time right after S left when he suddenly didn't want to stay home all the time and came with us everywhere. While having fewer kids makes our daytrips easier, I also feel a sense of loss because I don't want him to be so independent so early. I want all the kids to want to be part of our group of explorers all the time. But, H is just not as adventurous as the rest of us -- he'd rather be home or with a friend than be hiking around in the mountains with us. We're used to his personality and we love him in spite of and because of it. I still miss him though when he doesn't come.
I mentioned wildflowers and this was one that I photographed. I liked how O stopped to wait up for me and I didn't realize he was even in the frame till later. But now it kind of looks like he stopped to look back at the flower. I like it.
Just when we thought the day was over and we'd gotten in the car to head home, we spotted these two deer crossing a section of road and climbing the embankment. When I slowed so I wouldn't hit them, they dashed away quickly. I pulled over to try to get a picture of them leaving the scene as "proof" of our sighting, but they'd stopped and were watching us from a safe distance. I was able to roll down the windows so the kids could take a nice long look and snapped a few pictures with my good camera (and my phone - but this one is much better).
I have not felt a lot of motivation to do stuff lately and feel content just staying home in the comfort of my bedroom. My world has become very small because I'm too overwhelmed most days to get outside. But today, I decided to do this. To take a trip up to the mountains like I used to do with the kids and to see what God had in store for us.
His welcome back party was just truly amazing. Time with the kids, getting some exercise and observing so many wonderful things in God's creation. The whole day was like a breath of fresh air and I'm so thankful for the gift that was today.
Blog you tomorrow.