Last week we were able to take a walk at one of favorite spots, a local wetlands park tucked into the Northern Virginia suburbs. I’m sort of a fail at formal nature study in our homeschool but this is one of the places we go to again and again, often enough that we know it and can see the changes that occur with the seasons and over time.
The biggest surprise this time was evidence of a LOT of beaver activity. Apparently “busy as a beaver” is a saying for a reason. The lodge shown above is very new and we also saw many new dams that the beavers have made which have dramatically changed the water levels and the landscape. There were muddy beaver footprints all over the boardwalks which the kids all had a great time following.
We also saw more birds than I’ve ever seen at this particular park. I didn’t have the equipment or skill to capture them on film. Getting ready for this kind of activity is always a little bit of a pain. It’s not super close to our house, about a 30 minute drive so there is the travel time to consider. Snacks to pack, always more than I think we need but always eaten. This time of year there were all the coats and mittens and scarves to gather before we left. The kids were reluctant to go because they were in the middle of a Lego game. Etc. There is always a part of me that thinks “Why am I doing this again?”
But then we get there. They run laughing down the trails and leap over fallen logs. They track beavers. We watch birds swoop and glide over the pond and try and guess what they are. There is always a moment where I think “Oh, yeah. That’s why.”