As I write this blog, it is snowing. Looks like 4 to 6 inches deep, and still falling. I can't complain. The past two Saturdays have been like summer - temperatures in the 60s, with plenty of sun. Recently I took the grandkids to a local park and nature center.
The trail was muddy in places, and a sheet of ice anywhere shaded by the pine trees and bare scrub oak. Tricky hiking, but nobody fell.
I love witnessing the observations of the natural world made by children. The youngest just turned five. She was excited to show me the eyelash grass. The photo shows blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis).
According to Johnston Seed Company, "Blue Grama reproduces only by seed, and as the seed heads mature, they usually bend into a curve that resembles a human eyelash."
As we hiked along the creek, I showed the five-year-old how tossing in a pebble made interesting rippling circles that radiated out from where the pebble hit the water. Then I could not get her to stop. Her sisters joined in. What is it about throwing rocks in water that so fascinates kids? I had to drag them away before they threw every pebble in the Rocky Mountains into Bear Creek.
I snapped photos, but I also tried to capture a memory. As I get older, I am studiously attempting to live more in the moment. Winter takes up quite a bit of the year in Colorado. I want to appreciate the season. Yet I did catch myself pining for spring, when the oaks would leaf out, and the landscape would contain more splashes of green than just pine trees and cedars.
The older two grandchildren love the nature center. They went methodically to every station, assembling educational puzzles and playing games. The five-year-old disappeared, scaring us for a moment. We quickly found her behind the bee display, watching bees fly through a clear plastic tube to their indoor hive.
I realized the best thing about the nature center in winter was that we did not have to share it with many people. Developing a love for the cold, barren season has the benefit of a selfish solitude.
If you have a hiking trail, walking path, nature center, or botanical garden in your area, have you made a winter visit lately?
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