Sunday, May 13, 2012
Miguel worked the morning after the concert so the kids and I dropped him off at work and decided to go adventuring. We ended up at a county park my dad used to take Z and I to. We hadn't been back since my dad passed, likely largely due to the fact that I never felt like it was worth it to pay the parking fee for a short visit. I had bought a county parks pass the week before though, which let us visit any of the county parks for the next year at no additional cost so we were free to explore.
When Z was younger my dad randomly bought us a parks pass, and continued to do so for a few years. I don't remember why he stopped buying them, if I told him not to waste his money or if it was for some other reason, but in any case Z and I stopped being in possession of the pass and every year I would think longingly of getting one but I never felt like I had that extra money to throw away. This year I realized that it really isn't throwing away money, it's making it so that I'm more likely to get the kids outside and running around. It only takes ten visits to get my money back, and that's before I consider in the fact that the pass comes with a free night of camping and four tickets to a fall festival that we go to every year. Once I put it into that perspective I felt foolish for not buying it in the past.
My dad obviously came to all of these conclusions long ago. I never even knew there was such a thing as a parks pass until he handed me one. He never bought himself one, I think he just wanted to encourage me to get Z out and take advantage of living in such a pretty area. It's the exact kind of gift I want to give my own kids one day, as a just because kind of thing.
The park that I brought the kids to on this day had a small lake and Az was very excited because she assumed that much water meant she was going to get to swim. There were people fishing and I spotted a couple of boats but it didn't seem to be the kind of lake that people swim in. Once Az realized that we were just going to keep walking along the lake and not ever actually go down to it she was pretty irritated with me. She kept pointing out paths as if I just didn't know how to get there. It was a pretty hot day so I can't say I blamed her.
It got a little too hot to be enjoyable so we stayed for only a little more than an hour, but since it was a free visit and we can come back many times in the next year I felt fine packing the kids up and heading home. Whenever a bicycle or people on foot approached Az would stand off of the path and stay still until the person passed. I proudly thought she had an intrinsic sense of self-preservation but then a group of small children on bicycles came barreling up to us and Az's instinct was to excitedly run towards them. So I guess she just has an intrinsic wariness of unknown adults, which isn't all bad either.
Over all it was a pretty nice, albeit short, adventure. I brought home a case of poison oak with me, which I could have done without, but I think today was the beginning of a beautiful year of appreciating the county we live in. Next time I will be more aware of the plants I touch though. I had hoped I'd learned that lesson long ago.