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A Walk in the Snowy Woods

A Walk in the Snowy Woods

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The high was 51 today. The sun was shining. The snow was melting. How could we possibly stay home?

I wanted to go somewhere we could walk, but couldn’t think of any place among our usual haunts that wouldn’t be too snowy or too muddy. I kept thinking about nature preserves with boardwalks like at Crane Beach in Ipswich. But not at the beach because it might be colder near the water. So we looked online for trails that would be handicap accessible, thinking they would be less likely to be impassable. And we found one just minutes away in Rockland.

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A trail on a former railway bed, it wandered through woods, past a golf course, behind schools and houses and apartments and industrial buildings.

It was a bit muddy, especially at the beginning, and we all ended the day with wet shoes and socks and most of us had wet pants too. Lucy was the only dry one because she was on my back.

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Bella and Ben and Sophie mostly ran on ahead. Except in one stretch where the snow gave way to dry gravel, Anthony held onto either my hand or Dom’s. But where he felt confident in running, boy did he run. We probably walked two miles all told and he never complained once. He’s a real trooper.

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It was a perfect day. We saw no one else on the trail. Just us and a couple of squirrels in nearby trees, a dozen swans on a baseball field, and a handful of birds. No one really wanted to turn back– well, maybe Ben did– but by the end everyone was a bit tired and hungry and wet. Poor Bella, who had reveled in every minute till the end, fell down and got her pants wet and cried. So we ended on a bit of a bad note. But once we got home and had lunch, everything seemed much better.

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After we did turn around to head back Bella sighed and said she wished she could just be still and alone in the quiet. So I let her lag behind us, in an imaginary circle of silence, communing with the trees and the birds and the beauty of the day. She told me she thought she heard a woodpecker.

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Lucia slept through most of it. She actually nodded off in the car on the way to the parking lot and didn’t wake up when we moved her from the carseat to the Ergo on my back. She slept just about until we reached our turning point. Then she woke. She must have been a bit surprised to find herself in such an unfamiliar location. Life as a baby must be very disconcerting: falling asleep in one place and waking to find yourself in a place you’ve never been before.

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I’ve been edgy the last few days. February has really been getting to me. Cabin fever. So today’s respite was a very welcome relief. Being outdoors is such a restorative, isn’t it?

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I’m really looking forward to this spring and summer. Anthony and Ben are now getting big enough to really be able to cover some ground and are no longer so little as to have me perpetually afraid of them making a dash for the water if I take them someplace with a stream or pond. Lucy is light enough to carry around with no problems. I think we’re going to be able to go more places, do more things than we have in a long time. Freedom. Mobility. Adventure. Exercise. Nature study. I want it all.

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