|Calder in the Art Museum, evening event|
|Deer outside my window at the cottage|
When we visit the cottage we usually take the kids up the road to a ranch where for $5 they can be led around in circles a few times on a horse. This year Aden was finally old enough that we had the option to go out on a real trail. My sister-in-law kindly treated my daughter and me to a two hour trail ride and it was lovely. My thighs are still a little sore, but it was a wonderful experience. Aden loved it. She rode a horse named Comet who was trained as a therapy horse for people with physical disabilities, so she was a nice, calm, starter horse for Aden.
|Aden on Comet|
|View of Aden on the trail from my horse|
In any case, seeing the woods from horseback was wonderful. I had no interest in moving any faster than a walk, but the trail guides would split up the group periodically and let me go off ahead with one of them, and then the rest would catch up at a trot. The look of delight on Aden's face as her horse picked up speed is one I hope to never forget.
|Leaves illuminated from behind by sunshine is one of the most beautiful things I know of.|
One of the best people to take a nature walk with is my brother, Barrett. Nothing like being with an entomologist to make everything in a ten foot radius seem like a wild adventure kingdom. When you remember to include incredibly tiny animals in your searches you see animals everywhere, and Barrett's enthusiasm for the insect world is inspiring (no matter how squeamish about bugs you may think yourself to be initially). My kids cannot wait until we get to go to the cottage and have him along. (They asked his identical twin what every insect was as they came across it on our walks, but Arno just kept tossing up his hands and saying, "Ask them yourself! I don't know!" As a neuroscientist he could have helped identify brains if there had been any on the trail, but thankfully there were none.)
It's also fun to walk with my mom, because as both a lover of nature and an artist she notices things the rest of us would overlook. She's spent most of her life in Michigan and incorporates many local elements into her work, and has never thought the Midwest lacked for interesting subject matter.
There are many places in the world I hope to see before I die. I've never been to South America or Africa or Australia. I'd like to take my kids to see India and Europe. If I get to visit even half the landmarks on the flashcards my kids like to flip through when I'm teaching them about the world I would be happy. But I'm also happy to call the Midwest my home base. I'm glad it's the place I get to return to, wherever I choose to go.