Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Walk to Remember

Today the daycare gods smiled down on me and I was actually able to leave work early. I decided to make good use of the extra time and spend it with my beautiful little girl.

Just across the street from where we live is a huge nature preserve. I've been meaning to take my camera out and experiment. The weather was absolutely glorious today and it seemed like the perfect time to go out and enjoy it for once, so Ciara and I decided to go and take a walk. I really had no idea what a lovely time we were going to have.

We set out...Me with camera in hand, Ciara clutching Lamby in one hand and a baggie full of goldfish in the other...or sometimes both in one hand.

We held hands as we walked down the street together and chatted about nothing in particular.
Then we crossed the street and stepped onto the bike path that runs through the forest preserve. It couldn't have been more beautiful. The sun was shining in a stunningly blue sky filled with puffy cotton candy clouds, birds were singing, insects were chirping peacefully to each other, the smell of fresh cut grass and flowers hung in the air...it was everything you could ever hope that it would be.


At one point along the path we came across a sweet little bench set off to the side. I insisted that Ciara sit and allow me to take her picture. She was reluctant, but I really wanted to capture the memory of the afternoon, so I begged and begged until she gave in.

Shortly after that we came around a bend in the path and I noticed a large spray of gorgeous yellow flowers in the distance. As I stopped to take a picture, Ciara and I suddenly saw a butterfly take flight out of the flowers near by. At first I thought that it was already gone, but we decided to backtrack for a moment and see if we could find it. I was so excited when I saw it sitting quietly on a flower. I was so scared that it was going to fly away again before I could capture its beauty. Then I was unbelievably annoyed when the glare from the sun made it impossible for me to see if I had the camera pointed at the right spot. Fortunately, I did actually manage to catch it.

We continued walking along, just enjoying the stunning afternoon and the good company. We would pause here and there to take in a particularly lovely sight before walking on.

I kept asking Ciara how she was doing, because we had been walking for quite some time at this point. She assured me that she was fine and that she wanted to keep going. I was hesitant because I understood that we were going to have to walk just as far to return home even though she didn't.
Then as we were walking I heard an unexpected sound...a rooster's crow. Ciara was delighted and wanted desperately to go and find the rooster.
The other day as we were driving home from someplace I had noticed a bunch of chickens in a yard just on the other side of the woods we were currently walking through. I knew if we continued on the path we would reach the road that the house is on and be able to walk past it while heading home. There are no sidewalks on this particular road, but I was willing to take the risk to see my daughter's face light up with that amazing smile of hers.

It was a tad nerve wracking walking along the side of the road with her. Fortunately there isn't a whole lot of traffic on that road, so it wasn't so bad. It was a little bit sad to see all of the junk and litter on the side of the road though. Not only did we find this lovely little gem
but there were also some old tires just laying around a few hundred feet away from there.

Still, the beauty of the day remained intact...
and we found the chickens and the rooster.
By this time Ciara and I were both fairly tired and ready to get home again. She was starting to get hungry and cranky, and I just couldn't wait to be able to walk on a sidewalk again.
Once we made it to the sidewalk we knew that we were nearly home and we started to relax and get back to enjoying ourselves.

We watched 2 squirrels chasing each other around
Ciara got to be "the Leader"
We saw the moon hanging in the sky
and watched a group of birds at play

It really was an afternoon to remember. There was absolutely nothing extraordinary about the walk itself. It was just really nice to spend some honest to goodness quality time in the company of my extraordinary little girl. It was a lovely reminder of the things that are truly important in life.

I think that I needed that.



13 fabulous responses:

Dana said...

THAT is why I want to move! Great pictures and I'm so jealous of you walk. It's definately days like that, that we need to remember 20 years down the road. Now, you've blogged about it, and you WILL remember.

Melissa Wollman said...

I love times like that, where you just love being with your kids and enjoying the very simple things in life. I think we take too many things for granted and it's nice to take a little time every now and again to just enjoy! It's also in these times that you remember that you really do enjoy being a Mom (I don't know about you, but I really like to be reminded that I like being a mom).

Great pics, by the way! You really are getting very good with that camera!

Carol said...

Oh what a lovely afternoon and oh so preferable to being at work.

Looks beautiful.

3boys247 said...

That was a fun walk. I love your pictures. What camera do you use?

Chelle said...

Oh, Shannon, those pictures are beautiful.

I wasn't even there and they took my breath away!

jOni lAnE said...

Looks like you had a beautiful walk!

Liz said...

What a great day with your little sweetie!

HappyHourSue said...

Wow. That was beautiful. And a gift to me, because I spend so many days letting my girls play video games or watch TV- we have no plans this afternoon so I'm going to take them on a walk!!!!!!

The Walsh's said...

Wow this was great! Beautiful pictures! You're a fabulous story teller!

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

Ciara does have an amazing smile. I was thinking that as I looked at her picture, and then you wrote it a little farther down :)

You know, this walk of yours will be something you will treasure in your heart forever. Ciara may not remember it but you have the pictures and you have the memories. Both are priceless.

I am so happy for you that you were able to have this time to enjoy nature and your beautiful little girl.

-Andrea

Farm Fresh Jessica said...

What a great way to spend found time!

A tad envious I am.

Yesterday, when Aviana saw the moon in the daytime, she said, "Merciful Heavens! The moon is out!"

What four year old says Merciful Heavens?

Susan said...

What a great place to have near your home. It looks like a fabulous day with your little princess. You got some amazing shots, but I'm sure they are nothing compared to the memories you have with your daughter.

bejewell said...

So jealous of this day. I can't wait for my Bean to be big enough to take long walks like this - without a stroller.

The pictures are gorgeous, by the way. And Little C is a stunner.