My friend Erin and I decided to take our crew camping over spring break. Then, the week prior, monsoon season settled over the south, coordinating nicely with Emma's massive head cold.
So I bribed Erin to let us go to her pine tree farm instead. I convinced her that she could play hostess and offer her entire house, her land, and all her recreational vehicles to me and my many children and I would bring the chicken sandwiches.
So we spent a few deleriously relaxing days wandering trails in search of animal tracks, and even making a few of our own.
We searched for secrets of spring and spied on mother nature.
It was glorious. For a minute there I thought I was going to have to do real camping. The kind with tents, and rain, and a camp stove, and air mattresses that stay inflated until 2:00a.m.
But Erin came through for me. I was all relieved to know I would be munching on veggie straws and Lay's creamy ranch dip from the luxury of a skirted plaid sofa while watching through the screen door as boys drove gators through mud puddles. Because we all know the best way to camp is sleeping in a king sized bed, waking up to a hot shower and freshly scrambled eggs, and spending a little time in the Lazy Boy recliner between nature hikes.
My Buzzard got all excited for me because the last time we were at the pine farm the pond had just been stocked. Rumor has it them catfish done grown real big, and that they like them some livers.
So my man, he set me right up.
He got me "tackle".....a pink pole and some.........chicken liver and chicken blood??
As if he'd never even met me.
He called me
incessantly more than once to keep tabs on my progress. It was really important to him that Emmie catch a fish, so he needed updates on the particulars. Did I have weights on my line? How far down? How was the bait holding out? Was I casting to the center of the pond? Why wasn't I rushing in to raid Erin's pantry in search of corn?? (Corn?)
Oh yes. I assured him that Erin and I were indeed using bobbers. My set up would have done him REAL proud. (It took all three of my pink bobbers to hold up my chicken livers. You have no idea how it tickles me to type that out.)
We held Emma hostage on that dock for a solid hour begging the catfish to bite. I was mighty proud of our valiant efforts, but I do believe my man was a little let down that we abandon the fight. The sweet old man from next door came for a vist one day and told us it was a horrible week for fishing according to his almanac. That totally soothed the sting of defeat, supplied me with published facts to defend myself to Buzzard, and gave Erin and I a reason to stop arguing about who was going to use the gardening gloves and Leatherman to get any potential fish off the hook.
Tiny treasures popped triumphantly from the ground, boasting the arrival of spring, and providing endless delight to a small admirer.
Brilliant shades of spring emerging from the once dormant ground.
I loved our nature walks.
Strolls, really, as the little one was delightfully distracted at every turn. So many textures and treats to explore!
A feast for our senses.
And plenty of time to endulge.
I dearly love this sweet little place, and how it invites adventure and rest and the opportunity to delight in the spoils of friendship.
The boys set to work. Men's work. They created "Camp Black Hawk". It involved clearing and hauling and raking and planning and
Because nature and dirt and digging and covert camps come like breathing to boys. They are in their element at the pine farm.
And I find great contentment in wandering.
Letting my boys be boys.
Letting my little one commune with the beauty of God all around her.
Giving thanks for time away.
Giving thanks for wonderful friends who make our lives rich.
One of the best parts is riding the trails...seeing what's in bloom...checking out the ponds...lifting the lid off an old well to hear the snakes HISSSSSSS.
I offered to stay back and photograph from the comfort and safety of the golf cart. Because, you know, I felt the need to make a contribution.
Sure, it's all fun and games until someone gets a flat tire. Real life has to creep in sooner or later.
Otherwise you're fooled into thinking you've found paradise among the pines.
It's just about closer than anything else I've found. Those trails, they're calling me back already.
Those happy trails.
Thanks, Erin. There's no one I'd rather not catch fish with. :-)
You're the best.