Friday, January 10, 2014

give me some feathers and web my feet

We took the kids to a nearby state park the day after Christmas.  We {read: Gavin} had a specific goal in mind: to spot some gators in their natural murky, marshy prehistoricness.  Grammy was visiting, so she stepped out of her comfort zone a bit to trek alongside watery bogs and navigate dirt-and-rock trails flanked on either side by bramble and trees and creepy-crawly and snake-filled uncertainty.  We weren't all quite outfitted for an afternoon of hiking and 'state parking'; as I'm sure Brynn's neon pink maxi dress, navy cardigan, silver ballet flats, and messenger-bag style purse grabbed the attention of 'real state parkers', but she worked it, owned it, and didn't think anything odd or out of place.  God love her individuality and spunk.
we happened upon a rope hanging from a tree, and in no time she was as dizzy as her fluffy curls

a little park play after a day of gator hunting
Raegan was awestruck by the wildlife, canopies of trees, and mess-making potential of a seemingly endless supply of dirt and mud.  She wavered back and forth between gripping daddy during less-than-certain moments, and taking her super-appropriate state-park-type shoes sandals off to run barefoot along the splintery wood and rock covered play structure and climb trees.  No fear.  {Except when we were spotting gators}.
the best possible choice of footwear for a terrain such as this

seeking the higher ground

{barefoot} fairy girl in her tree

And of course, there's Gavin.  My sweet boy loves himself some 'sploring.  The downside to life in suburbia is he's not as well-acclimated as his bravery-laden visualizations would imply.  While he may spend countless early weekend mornings watching Call of the Wildman on Animal Planet and scattering random rubber snakes and lizards around the house with the dual purpose of imaginary play and scaring the living bejesus out of his barefoot mama, the reality of 'the great outdoors' proved to be a bit bothersome at times.

pleasant, isn't he?
 Of course, he did shake his grumpiness for the chance at checking out the gator-infested swamps

And what boy's day in the great outdoors isn't complete without taking advantage of something mom will NEVER let you do at home?
yeah.  he's doing what you think he's doing.
While we were standing on an observation dock, looking out over a lake and admiring wildlife, there were a couple buzzard vulture-laden trees directly across from us.  

Stark black figures so often associated with death, perched ominously over a life-filled lake with various duck-type birds {definitely not an outdoorsy kinda gal}, fish, and turtles.  The disharmony struck me.

I love watching ducks on a lake.  There's something about the way they glide along haphazardly before randomly ducking their heads {ha} beneath the water in an attempt to snag a morsel from the murky depths.  They're brave little creatures, teetering between the boundary of lungs and gills, sticking their little ducky butts up high and proud, without fear of judgement.  Even in the shadow of a Halloweenesque tree, these little web-footed friends explore every area of that lake; bobbing up and down each time they find potential food.

I'm working on becoming more like these ducks.  My feathered friends are quite versatile members of the animal kingdom.  They can hang with their flock in the air, gather their team on the ground, or set sail with their paddling upon lakes and ponds where they can teeter totter above and below the surface.  They are often chilling with their posse, but are cool with wandering about even if a fellow duck friend isn't right by their side.  They aren't afraid to 'test the waters' by diving below the surface for something they desire.  They become a vulnerable buoy with their bottoms waggling clumsily as they focus eyes on the prize.  

Yeah, I want to be like a duck.  

I want to have loved ones in various environments and of distinct and diverse upbringings and viewpoints.  I want to glean from them what it's like to walk a mile in their shoes, to hear their experiences and live in their stories.  I want to know what they've seen, what it feels like to be where they are and who they are and how they came to be.  I want to breach the surface and dive in deep to the lives of people, to breathe in their air and see the world as they see it.  I want to have a broad perspective of the different ways people live, know what their ominous tree of buzzards looks like to them, and help them overcome the fear of living in the shadow of their cloud.

I want to have a flock, a crew, a home group of people with whom I am most at ease, and from whom I feel the most love and adoration, and I want to keep them close by.  I want to be brave enough to paddle along by myself, seeking what it is that I crave and what I need for sustenance.  I want to know I've got others out there on that same lake with me, but who are giving me the opportunity to head into the cattails or between the logs and the rocks, even if they know the search may be fruitless.  I want to be brave enough to teeter myself into different worlds, in the hopes of finding a morsel of inspiration and truth.  I want to be able to be vulnerable to stick my ducky tush out there for the world to see, without fear of judgement and shame because I know what I'm going after is bigger than the opinions of those who are behind me.  

Yeah, I want to be like a duck.
mama duck {obviously not in a 'ducky' environment, but I'm almost always behind the camera}

my favorite ducklings
{quack, quack}

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