Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Big Tree Park (and a few childhood memories!)

On Wednesday morning I was still trying to blow the sleepy cobwebs from my brain when I got the sudden inspiration (like a whispering in my ear) to "go to Big Tree Park." Lydia kindly whipped together a picnic lunch of sandwiches, sweet tea, apples, and pears. I fixed bags of trail mix from nuts and dried fruits, since that always adds to a sense of adventure. I think it had been years since we'd been there, even though it is less than 10 miles away, so the kids didn't remember it until we arrived. Wedged in between pockets of suburbia, Big Tree features the tallest cypress tree in the United States, a charming boardwalk through the forest, a spiffy playground, and picnic pavilions. We enjoyed the gorgeous spring weather, even though a bracing breeze blew our paper plates off the rough wooden table.

Some factoids about the Senator (aka The Big Tree)

A view near the top...

Up and up and up -- 118 feet! (It used to be quite a bit taller, before a hurricane in the 1920s.)
Ben on the boardwalk bench
A furry friend enjoying a leftover piece of apple core

Melody and Mommy on the slide, with Naomi in the background

... and finally, a bit of Joanna's stunning nature photography

I am so thankful for this wee opportunity to enjoy our Creator's handiwork and instill a sense of wonder in my children as well. That was the whole point of the matter!

Though as a mommy of 10 I am often very short on energy of any kind, I still want to cultivate an exuberance for living. I don't want to let total boredom take over, for me or for the kids. The TV especially drives me nuts as a brain waster, so ours is currently sitting in the back of my van, waiting to go back in storage for who knows how long until I can bear the sight of it again. When I was seven, my parents pulled the plug on ours for six years, and we all learned to enjoy (and actively DO) reading, music, art, theater, gardening, and so much more. We also used to go camping, which was a special treat since we lived in Northern California. Seeing the massive sky-high sequoia and redwood trees in the national parks was quite enough to put some wonder in a child, looking up and up and up and up and still not seeing the top of a tree! (Big Tree is puny compared to them!)

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking us so many places when we were kids -- and not just outdoors! I remember celebrating birthdays at the Good Earth restaurant in Chinatown, eating chocolate at Ghirardelli Square, watching street performers at the Cannery, holding my nose at Fisherman's Wharf, strolling through quaint Monterrey, soaking up history at the old Spanish missions or the Renaissance Fairs, roasting hotdogs on Christmas Eve every year on the beach at Half Moon Bay, hiking through Yosemite National Park, tobogganing at Lake Tahoe, and more that escapes my old adult brain at the moment.

Here is a photo of our family at Crater Lake in 1973. From left to right: my sister Barb, my brother John, my mom, my dad, and me.

Go out and get some fresh air! If you live in the Orlando area, here is a "review" of Big Tree Park. Wherever you live, I'm sure there are mini-trips galore!



1 comment:

  1. Ahhh you're such a FUN mom!

    As one of my friends who attended the shower told me yesterday, "Ryan is marrying a treasure." She (Sue) was so impressed with you and told me it means so much to have great in-laws because you're marrying into the whole family.


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