Sunday, May 11, 2008

Foiled By A Bum Sock

It's a beautiful Mother's Day in New England today. Well, at least my part of New England. So, on my way home from church today I decided to stop at a National Park and take a little hike. I've been driving a new route to church lately and it takes me right passed Minute Man National Park. Most Sundays I have homework to get home to or the weather isn't that great so I drive by and wonder when I'll get a chance to explore the wonders of this particular National Park. For the record, I've been to several National Parks and Monuments, along with state parks, in the past year as I've been lucky enough to travel across the country this year. Well, I finally got my chance today. I decided that after church I'd grab a water bottle from my car and hit the trails that I drive by every week. But first I stopped at the visitor's center since I knew very little about this actual park and have forgotten most of the history I learned about the Revolutionary War. I watched a movie and then head off on one of the trails. It was a great hike! I saw violets and lily of the valley (one of my favorites!) and, even better, saw very few people headed the direction I was going. I was planning on looping around passed the visitor's center and heading off on another trail to hike for about two hours. Unfortunately, my socks had other plans. I had to keep stopping and pulling up my sock because it was bunching up and giving me a blister, well, not yet but working on it. Since tomorrow starts another four weeks of boot camp I decided to call it a day and just head for the car. But, fear not! I will be back to explore the park on another day. With a better pair of socks you can bet on that!

Since I drive so far to church it also affords me plenty of time to think on a Sunday afternoon drive. And today for some reason found me thinking of the past. Past relationships but mostly a past job. It reminded me of working at the adventure/environmental camp up in New Hampshire. Mostly because I was noticing how the trees are filling out again with all their rainbow of colors. I got thinking about one day when I was teaching an environmental lesson and I asked the kids to take 5 minutes to count the number of colors they saw. After about thirty seconds a few of the kids looked at me like "That was easy. Why do I need 5 minutes?" It was these kids I was trying to teach at that moment. When the 5 minutes was up, I asked for a show of hands, "Who saw at least five different colors?" Everyone raised their hands. Then I asked, "Ten?" Still had everyone. After 15 I started losing a few hands. And the same kids that wondered why it took so long to count the colors were shocked when I got to 30 and there were still hands raised. Someone had counted nearly 40 different colors from where they were standing. The next question was just as simple. "Without killing or harming anything, point out something green." There were 10 kids with me and nearly everyone of them pointed out a different shade of green. Someone mentioned that the same color green in the sun is a different color green in the shade. It was moments like that where I felt like I'd actually taught them something. The ability to observe the tiny nuances of life is a powerful thing that many of us miss in day to day living. Open your eyes kids and really LOOK! That's the lesson I was trying to teach them. What's right before them is not always as simple as green, red, brown. It may be teal, sea foam, lime, cherry, sienna, burnt orange, etc. It just takes stepping out of the shadows (or into them) to see a totally different perspective.