Off the Beaten Path

What a blessing to have a little more daylight at the end of every day!

Now there’s enough sunshine to enjoy a walk in the late afternoon when my husband gets home from work.

Ice, Snow, Fun 017At first we followed the trails in the pasture, sticking to the known, the usual, the predictable.

But then yesterday –  in a spur of the moment decision – we veered off the path and walked right across the ice on the pond.

You know – it’s rather freeing to stand in the middle of a frozen pond and look back at the shore.

It’s a totally new perspective.

We  continued on our walk, but this time – enjoying that taste of freedom – we left the trail and took off cross-country through the woods.

We followed deer trails and scared up bunnies as we zig-zagged around low branches.

We jumped over the ravine, discovered bobcat tracks, and watched several deer running in the distance.

Amazingly, we were just a few yards from our regular trail – but everything looked different.

New.

Unexpected.

Yes, that’s the word. Unexpected.

After weeks of routine –  cleaning, school, laundry, meals, groceries – it was wonderful to find something unexpected.

The trails had become predictable. We had followed them so often we know what was around every corner.

It was time to take another route, to see things from a different angle.

To feel alive again.

Creative.

Refreshed.

We just needed to step off the beaten path.

Hiking the Ravine

800px-pink_clouds01When the temperatures soared up into the 60’s this week, the kids and I all played hooky for the afternoon and took a hike.

After all, having 60 degrees in January in southern Iowa is an event to be celebrated!

We made 2 rules for this adventure. The first rule was that each of us needed to have a piece of candy in our pockets that we could eat anywhere, or anytime we wished!

The second rule was that we could not walk on any trails.

We headed down the hill to the ravines and decided to follow them for as far as we could.

Winter is the perfect time to explore the ravines that surround our homestead since they are overgrown, inaccessible and full of ticks during the summer and fall.

But this day was perfect! The snow was melted, the sun was shining and we were all wearing sweatshirts, – no parkas, mittens, or hats – in mid-January.

We climbed over logs and crawled under branches. We slid down steep banks and shimmed back up the other side. We skated across the frozen creek bed and explored the wash outs.

We found several animal bones, turkey feathers, and part of an old foundation.

We discovered with awe that the rushing creek had frozen as it was flowing into amazing little frozen waterfalls.

We talked, we laughed, we ate chocolate and we savored the sunshine.

But most of all, we made a memory.