I used to be very uptight about schedules. A woman with three children under three finds herself tied religiously to meal- and nap-times and doesn’t like the interruptions that make up a normal life. As I have gotten older, and have older children, I have become a little more flexible and laid back. I still have plans, but now I assume that something will come along to change them.
Today was Community Bible Study day in Sarasota, as is every Wednesday during the school year here. The kids have made friends there with other homeschoolers and I have a little time away from the kids to interact in a meaningful way with adults. But a nasty cough changed our plans—no way that we were going to go and share that with our new friends! Good thing, too, because this turned out to be one of those days that holds a beautiful surprise, not to be missed.
The weather being absolutely gorgeous, I decided we’d finish up a little schoolwork from yesterday and then go have a picnic. I am learning to make the proverbial lemonade with my lemons. So we went to one of our favorite places around here, Robinson Nature Preserve. It contains miles of hiking trails though salt marsh and scrub, boardwalks through mangrove estuary, waterways to kayak, a 70-foot observation tower, climbing trees, a small playground and plenty of interesting plant and animal life
On the way over to Robinson, I got side-tracked. Actually, I turned at the wrong place and accidentally found an organic farm co-op/CSA (community supported agriculture). So after our picnic at the preserve, a vigorous fig-tree-climb, and a hike, we headed over to the farm and investigated.
Aside from the produce they had harvested for the co-op and farm store (which included some of the prettiest red leaf lettuce, kohlrabi, beets, carrots, eggplant and broccoli I have ever seen) they also had pick-by-the-pint sugar snap peas and flowers free for the gathering with purchase of vegetables. Sarah headed off with the pruning shears toward the rows of red, orange and yellow chrysanthemums while the boys and I, with Rachel in my carrier, headed over to the row of snap peas. It was like finding buried treasure—the boys were delighted every time they discovered a plump pea pod hiding under the leaves of the plant, and they tromped back and forth in the rich black earth between the rows until they were covered head-to-toe with a fine, dark silt. Sarah returned with more flowers than she could carry, we filled the pint, and headed home for a fresh-picked snack and a swim.
Some days, despite the best planning, turn out to be a disappointment, and others work out better than you had hoped, but the best days are like this one—a gift to be unwrapped slowly and enjoyed, with just the right balance of work and play, a hint of adventure, and a memory to be made and set aside for later.