That being said, my family recently has discovered something, or more aptly, somewhere. It's a small path just a few minute's walk from our house that leads through woods along a shallow creek bed.
I can't divulge more information regarding its location, though. It's a secret. My oldest daughter is intent on keeping it this way, with the exception of sharing its whereabouts with a select few neighborhood friends who have either proven themselves trustworthy or who appear sufficiently directionally-impaired, and thus, would be unable to accurately convey directions if interrogated.
As for me, I'm just amazed that this place exists. It's less than five minutes from the house where I've lived for nearly eight years. What else don't I know about my neighborhood?
I hadn't known that braided vines dangle from the trees, creating an ethereal vibe like I've wandered into a Tolkein forest.
I didn't expect that the make-shift bridge my husband erected with a single board would draw out calm, encouraging leadership from my eight-year-old as she coached her younger sisters to watch their steps.
I hadn't remembered how kids could be enthralled with being outside: touching moss, inspecting spiky jaggers on a bush, listening to a bird's call, or overturning rocks in a stream bed in hopes of finding a fossil.
I feel like Mary in The Secret Garden, as if we've discovered something that's been locked away. I'm not the only one; yesterday, my oldest stood at the window as rain dripped down the screen and said, "I want to go back to our path."
I understand. So does my husband, who was the first to discover the trail and since has returned multiple times with pruning shears to carefully clear a walkable route. "This is what childhood should be about," he noted.
Explore on, kids. Explore on.