Call of the Wild
When I was young I thought I was one of those crunchy granola types. I felt moral outrage after reading Silent Springby Rachel Carson, went on a six-day hike on the Appalachian Trail for pre-frosh college orientation, and convinced myself and others that I was going to law school to become an environmental lawyer. I think a lot of it came from my belief that being green was what cool people did.
But now my two sons H and R have made me realize I need to be completely honest with myself. I do not like nature. I do not like dirt. I especially do not like running after boys into algae-infested duck ponds.
Recent excursions to different parks in the South Bay have effectively set me free from a lifetime of pretending to be a Girl Guide. Wilderness Park was the scene of two episodes. The first time was for a playdate. Although it wasn't something I would think of doing on my own with H (3 yrs) and R (1 yr), I squelched any misgivings in the name of toddler friendship. When we got there everyone wanted to go to the duck pond. I have never seen such aggressive ducks in my life. At one point they came charging right towards R. I wish I could tell you I charged and hissed right back as a mama duck would to protect her young, but instead I ran away. Luckily the ducks realized that R didn't have any food and backed off. Then H jumped into the pond in order to get a closer look at the turtles. Right through the green pond scum. I couldn't take it anymore. I grabbed one boy in each arm and ran back to the car.
A few weeks later, we were invited to the same park for a robot birthday party. This didn't make much sense to me. What do robots have to do with the wilderness? But I agreed to go, hoping that my making H go home after jumping into the pond had taught him the lesson that he shouldn't do it again. It started out well enough. Although there was a six foot tall pile of mulch not far from the party site that my sons could not resist climbing and jumping into, I could handle that. Then someone spoke the dreaded words, "Let's go to the duck pond." I hoped against hope that H would resist jumping in. He did...for exactly five seconds. We couldn't leave since it was still the middle of the party, but I did make him leave the duck pond area. The rest of the party he walked around the dirt without shoes. We ending up forgetting the shoes at the park. (I think it was my subconscious refusing to clean them again.)Continued on the next page