The weekend is almost over, but I can safely say, smile on face, that what I created this weekend, with the help of my children and friends, was the best this month by far. We have created lots of lasting memories. Ours has been a weekend of fresh air, mud and water, filthy fingers, dirty clothes, tree-climbing, log-hopping fun.
Saturday afternoon and a big group of us gathered in Trent Park to celebrate the Birthdays of two brothers – both friends of my boys. Mum and Dad had clearly put a lot of thought into this day. Bunting hung from branches to mark the party spot; rugs were spread below the trees and a rope swing hung over the slope that led down to the stream where the kids paddled up to their knees, built bridges and ran about happily, getting wetter and wetter. Tea was available in flasks for thirsty parents; Mum handed round her home-baked delights, enough for all; juice bottles were recycled and made into glow bugs with the addition of cardboard wings, googly eyes and glow sticks; Grandpa had brought his bicycle pump and was shooting water bottle rockets way up into the air to the delighted squeals of the children below; white chocolate rabbits had been hidden in the open field for the children to discover on their treasure hunt and the other games that were on offer were not even necessary as the children were so busy making their own entertainment.
We had so much fun that the boys and I wanted to go back for more today. They were keen to return to their bridge, play again in the stream, and why would I wish to refuse them the joy of inventing their own games; making bridges across streams; using leaves as boats to float downstream and over little waterfalls?
I had my own ideas as well and set about gathering the materials for my mission: sticks, stones, bark, leaves. What began as a simple heart drawn with a stick in the soil, became a little trail of hearts made of natural materials, winding through the woods.
Such simple activities, connecting with nature, using what is freely available to create something that people may unexpectedly discover, and that will shift and change as the wind blows and the rain falls, brings me great joy. The shapes of the trees and their shadows; the scent of the damp earth; light glistening on the rapidly running stream; the sound of birds singing, children playing; the feel of thick mud squelching beneath my boots.
How little we need to be happy… nature provides all that we require to have an adventurous day, indulging our senses out in the wild.