Mom – let’s go for a walk. Please – I want to take pictures of the snow.
I stare at my computer screen. I have several deadlines looming — but it’s so beautiful outside. I’m not very good at resisting an adventure.
We dress warm and head out into the forest near our house. (OK – so calling it a forest is a bit generous. The Ponds is a big swamp the City hasn’t figured out how to build houses on yet.)
I have learned to seek adventures close to home. I interviewed the Canadian landscape painter Robert McAffee (read that interview here) and he taught me to look at the things we see everyday with fresh eyes.
I interviewed photographer Sarah Grace (read that article here) who taught me to use a camera to seek out beauty in the ordinary. By searching out beauty every day, I’ve learned to look outside my own problems and see the beauty just waiting to be inhaled.
As we walked, our boots crunched on the hard snow and on the more travelled parts sank into the soft mud. This snow won’t stay, the ground isn’t frozen yet. Leaves clung to branches covered in a precariously balanced load of snow. The sun glistened off the new blanket of white everywhere.
We have walked this bit of bush/swamp many many times. I like to pretend we live in the country so we come here a lot. We know the path well, but with each new season, each new season-of-life, we manage to find beauty and see something we’d missed before.
Walking and Wandering and Laughing
When we go adventuring we do a lot of walking and wandering and laughing — and we talk. It’s on our adventures that she tells me what’s on her heart, what she’s praying for, what keeps her up at night — where she wants to end up in life and the kind of person she wants to be.
And I listen and empathize. I don’t minimize or brush off her concerns and worries — if it’s important to her it’s important to me. Just because I’ve walked the path before her and understand that it’s (usually) a short season — I also remember the anxiety, the faltering steps, the impatient waiting. It’s a serious business growing up!
I try to offer some wisdom here and there, but I often repeat back what she says in a different way. Sometimes she nods, yes – that’s right, and sometimes she squints and her nose wrinkles: I don’t know if that’s what I really want. Sometimes we just need a sounding board.
We had so much fun on our walk, and the clouds were so beautiful, we got in our van and decided to chase the sunset (deadlines still looming). She always plays DJ so we listened to a lot of Christmas music. She sang and snapped photos and I drove and listened. We stay off the highways and find the way less travelled. We got a little lost and found a Timmy’s on the way home (maybe we weren’t as lost as we felt).
Our adventures are fairly ordinary — common even. We go to a park we’ve been to a hundred times, or we stay up late to watch meteor showers on a dark country road 10 minutes from home, or try and photograph a blue moon from our deck. Just once, I’d love to sit under the Northern Lights with them — but that takes fortitude. I’ve only seen The Lights when it’s the dead of winter and it’s really really cold (do they come when it’s warm?).
Not once do my girls look at me like I’m crazy. Instead, their faces light up – “I’m game!” One day they won’t be around as much (which is precisely as it should be), so when they ask me to go for a walk or chase the sunset or watch a meteor shower – I’m game!
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. Do you realize that this is the very path that goes through Mirkwood, and that if you let it, it might take you to the Lonely Mountain or even further and to worse places?” ~Bilbo Baggins
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I love this post, my friend. Thanks so much for sharing your adventure with us.
Steph recently posted…Progression of Maturity
Lisa Hall-Wilson says
Thanks for reading! Hopefully this is just the start of a new blogging adventure as well.
Beautiful and well put. I’ve been thinking about finding beauty and adventure around me. And taking the time to listen and hang out with the kiddos despite the looming deadlines. This time passes so fast.
Thanks for sharing!
Lisa Hall-Wilson says
Teenagers rarely want to talk when it’s convenient for me, so I’ve learned to rearrange things. If I make myself available when they want to talk, hopefully they’ll listen when I need them to hear me.
coleen patrick says
Love these kinds of adventures! 🙂
Lisa Hall-Wilson says
Me too! Thanks for stopping by.
Kimberly Merritt says
This is a lovely essay. And as a mother of three who is experiencing an empty nest, always go for the walk!
Darlene L. Turner says
Awesome post, Lee! Love that you drop everything and go with your family on adventures. So important. The pictures are breathtaking! Kudos to the photographer!
Darlene L. Turner recently posted…Christmas Suspense!
Karen McFarland says
Hey Lisa! Sorry to be late for the party. I was actually cleaning up my email, a terminal job, when I found your post. So here I am. And congrats for posting this article. Love the pictures. Although they look a little chilly my friend. But it sounds like you have an amazing relationship with your daughter. And that cannot be compared with deadlines. Deadlines will always be there. Our children grow up and poof! They’re gone, off on their own. It happens faster than you can ever imagine. Yes, I’m an empty nester. How could you tell? Lol! 🙂
Karen McFarland recently posted…Forgiveness