A recent evening walk with my sons Timothy and little Mack was a valuable reminder to me that there’s treasure everywhere. Take a look.
During supper, little Mack commented that we hadn’t been to the park for a long time. Then suddenly he wanted to walk to the park more than anything else in the world. More than anything else in the universe. In many, many universes.
The neighbor’s corn is tall now (up to my shoulders) so I knew it wouldn’t be an easy thing to walk through his fields to get to the park, less than a mile away. The scratchy-scritchy corn is bad enough, but the detasseling flashbacks, for me, are the worst. Timothy offered to take Mack to the park, and I braved the flashbacks to tag along.
Scritchy-scratchy. . . anybody else seen the movie “Signs”? Ooooh. Makes me so shivery.
After the torturous slog through the scritchy-scratchy corn, we walked through another neighbor’s prairie grass pasture.
Our neighbors mowed a path through part of the pasture, which was so considerate of them.
I do buy these boys shoes, see? They’re carrying them. That’s what they do with shoes. “Do people actually wear these things–on their feet?” they ask.
Of course little Mack is chattering this whole time. What a blessing for him to have three big brothers to chatter to, and one still at home who will carry him through the corn and listen quietly to every word.
At the park, I sit down for a minute and discover treasure: a cicada case! The first one I’ve seen this summer.
Cicadas are fascinating insects and are eaten in many countries–did you know this? They are known to have been eaten in ancient Greece as well as China, Malaysia, Burma, Latin America, and the Congo. Female cicadas are prized for being meatier.
Hmm. I’m trying not to think of a human parallel here. Not–going–there.
Shells of cicadas are used in the traditional medicines of China. See how skillfully I changed the subject away from my thighs? Ooops. Rats.
Honestly, I’m wondering what a deep-fat-fried cicada would taste like right about now. With a cornmeal-crunchy batter? Can’t you picture it . . . what do you mean you can’t?
Cicadas sing a very loud song during the late summertime. Did you know that some cicadas sing so loudly that the sound can cause permanent hearing loss in humans, if the insect is right outside the ear? Also, some smaller species have songs so high in pitch that humans can’t hear them.
When I was a little girl, when the cicadas started singing, Mom would always say “Oh kids, listen to that–the cicadas are singing. That means that summer is almost over!”
I seem to remember her grinning really broadly at this observation. To this day, I still feel a mixture of sadness (no more long summer days with swimming and gardening and biking!) and happy anticipation (shorter days, cooler temperatures, hot soups, and new school clothes!) when I hear the cicadas.
Of course now that I know that they can actually damage my hearing, I might have another feeling about them. I spotted another case . . .
. . . and another! Definitely, this was my lucky day!
Little Mack came running up to me and asked if we couldn’t please, please climb over the beaver dam to the tall climbing bank?
We’ve done this adventure before, and I realized how much easier it would be with Timothy along to do the climbing that little Mack loves so much. The last time little Mack and I climbed the “climbing bank” we found a skull that we still haven’t identified. Fox? Opossum? Little Mack thinks it was a smallish dinosaur skull. I don’t.
I looked up at this tree and noticed that the sun was sinking. “We’d better climb fast,” I observed, unnecessarily. “The sun is going down.”
“Don’t worry, Mom,” grinned my youngest. “Timothy and I are fast climbers.”
“Well, first I have to climb THIS. . .”
There’s a big glut of dead trees and limbs and detritus that has stuck in this area of the creek for years, and little Mack calls it the “Beaver Dam” although I really don’t think there are any beavers in this area.
If there were, chances are one of them would have tried to eat one of my chickens by now.
Timothy shimmied across the logs, and then little Mack took his turn easing his way across, and then I inched across. The mosquitoes were starting to bite, and I nearly fell into that brakkish water taking a swat at one. But then I found a red, white and blue baseball stuck in the mess of logs and dug it out.
This time I got to stand at the bottom of the cliff and take pictures, instead of make the climb myself. And admire my sons. I admire Timothy’s drive to climb something challenging like this steep cliff, and his determination to do so. Even more I admire his kindness and patience in helping his little brother up to the top, too.
Oof. It did take a bit of effort on Timothy’s part to hoist his brother up to the top. For my part, I was watching them, holding my breath and swatting mosquitoes. No picnic down at the bottom of the cliff, either. I do believe I was a bit hungry, too.
Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comics have always been a favorite at our house. We have several raggedy dog-earred copies of collections that have been passed down from kid to kid. Little Mack now does his share of toting them around and settling down and chuckling at the adventures of the little boy, Calvin, that he has so much in common with, and his tiger Hobbes.
I love those two little piles of shoes at the bottom of the cliff.
Now you’ll see why the trip down was so much faster than the trip up.
The sun was going down quickly now, and we had to move quickly to get back through the park, across the prairie grass, and back across the cornfield. Scritchy-scratchy.
Our evening walk was absolutely filled with treasure. I hope for you, Gentle Reader, a Sunday full of treasure of the greatest kind!
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