I don’t know about anyone else but the natives on boy island are getting tired of long days inside. We love to be outside and do things that help us appreciate and learn from nature. We also love to do things that are cheap or free and that don’t require us to be quiet or still for the whole time. Merry Lea Environmental Center is one of our favorite places because it fits the bill perfectly. We have been going to Merry Lea for years! It is close by, open all year, and so much fun. If you are from the NE Indiana area and haven’t been there, you can check it out by clicking right here. They have lots of programs that you can participate in or you can go free-range like we did. They have well cared for trails, benches along the way, and an amazing nature center. We usually just start hiking and see where we end up.
Yesterday we couldn’t walk anywhere without seeing animal tracks or nests. That’s one of the nice things about hiking in the snow. Another nice thing is that while the kids are running around and investigating it gives me time to think.
All of those tracks and the signs of the upcoming season change reminded me of my place in this big world. I am not the center of it. It always amazes me that there is a whole world that goes on without any participation from people. In fact it goes on in spite of the interruption from us. The seasons will change without needing any permission and without requiring any resources that we have. I couldn’t help but think about Psalm 8:3-4,
” When I consider your heavens,
the work of your hands,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?“
We walked quietly for 2 minutes while we listened for how many different sounds we could hear. Bird songs, the squirrels running through dead leaves, our footsteps making crunching sounds in the snow. Then we stopped and held perfectly still for 1 minute. Okay not perfectly, but as still as we are able. For at least half of that minute we heard the blissful sound of silence. Not something we are accustomed to on boy island. As we walked back we talked about all of the things that are going on around us that we would miss if we never slowed down.
We made up a story about the family of deer that surely take this trail each day. As the kids shared the story I was amazed at how they were able to weave in facts with the fictional account of Sophia, the mother deer, and her twin fawns, Jane and Joan. Our quiet time ended quickly as we came out of the woods. The reflective mood broken by the high pitched shrieks of my natives as they skated, and slipped their way down the drive. Over and over again. A perfect end to our day.
What story would you tell about the deer who passed this way? Or maybe you would tell a completely different story. I would love to hear about your main character. We are always up for another story on boy island. The snowy days are numbered, so if you get the chance head out to the woods this weekend.