Yesterday was such a perfect day. The temperature was pushing seventy when we loaded up the kids and a picnic and headed out. We chose a campsite down in the Gorge for our picnic, surrounded on every side by the arid and majestic grandeur of the canyon walls. After we ate, we hiked down to the river. My hiking buddy was Naomi, which is appropriate, since she’s about as much an outdoorswoman as I am. She picked her way over the rocks and walked/slid down the hill, her voice registering high-pitched concern and discomfort all the way. Once we got to the promised land, though, her whining turned to giggles and screams of delight.
Though the water was too cold for swimming, the kids flirted with the its edge—dabbling sticks, throwing rocks, and building castles and canals. Paul was industrious, on a constant mission to find the best and biggest rocks and toss them six inches into the water. He stumbled and fell constantly, often into the water, and ended up covered wet sand. TJ and the kids built a “bridge” into the river, using huge boulders. They buried Paul and their feet about one foot down.
I was content just to watch and remember. The heat of the sun and the smell of the river seeped into me, reminding me of hundreds of childhood days spent frolicking on the
Colorado River. I was reminded, once again, of how nutritious it is, how necessary it is, to get out and play in the dirt, especially as kids. Their joy at discovering weird sticks and big rocks, at creating and destroying, at getting good and dirty—it suffused my childhood, too. Even then, I needed a good push to get outside, but I loved it once I got out there. Just like I do now.