Just off the Beaten Path

Wednesday of this week I dropped my daughter off at gymnastics and had time to spend with just the boys. After an errand, I told them we were going to go for a little walk on the river walk, just to the Medal Caterpillar and then back. It wasn’t far- so they were game. We parked where our town has a large medal steam shovel and the boys groaned and physically itched at the sign telling them not to play or climb on it. I’d ignore the sign, but that particular sign (on that side) was literally put there for us. A year ago my kids were all over the twelve foot structure, dangling from every limb when we drew the attention of a stressed city employee. I told the truth when I explained that I hadn’t see the sign on the other side of the structure…. and… well now there are two signs. One on each side. And I’m very aware of both.

It’s a deep loss for my kids and they grieve it upon every visit.

So after passing said grieving site, we came on the next medal structure- A pump and broiler. “It has no NO PLAY signs!” Sammy squealed. “Right?” He can’t read all the words but the one sign looked way friendlier and the sign was clearly up high. The “No play” signs tend to be down low. “Can we mom?!”

So while the boys climbed on the broiler, I gazed out at the river beyond the path I was on. I saw people down by the water in the distance. I called to the boys and we stepped off the path. We wandered down across a lawn and through some bushes to the rivers shore. We made our way along the rocks talking about all sorts of boy things and just enjoying the incredible fresh views.

We worked our way from the Frazer river shore over to the aqua waters of the Quesnel river where we noticed the river rock size changed.

We even made it in time to watch the train rumble it’s way over the tracks.

And all I could think of as we explored and were smitten with the beauty around us- is how many times I’ve walked that path and never done this.

Then today as we wound our way home along a path we often take through the woods, we took a deer path we’d tried, but oh so long ago, and found a old dump site. We’d looked down the wreckage of cars and dumped pails in that pit before- but today we followed Jonas and Sammy down into it. To explore.

Treasures are all in the eyes of the beholder. My kids excitedly brought each one they found to me for approval of its value. When they started pleading to bring their rusty treasures home, I directed their enthusiasm to building a drum kit that we could come play. Right here. In the woods. We could even bring our friends to show. And oddly enough I, the adult, was the only one who came out of there with a rusted treasure I wanted to bring home… an old lantern.

And then like a mix between Sound of Music and the Trashing the camp song from Tarzan- my babies were playing me beats. With good old fashioned imaginations and a pit of treasures.

To think if we hadn’t veered of the path yet again we would have missed it all. I struggle with just doing things thinking “because they worked good once, let’s just do it again.” Also with finding safety in what I know. But there is something in me keen for adventure, and every now and then it convinces the safe predictable side of me to step off the beaten path. To go somewhere on a whim, pull over on the side of the road and go see, try something tricky, or new, or listen to a crazy kid suggestion.

Adventure doesn’t always have to be something you have to save money for. Sometimes it’s just stepping out of normal.

Like who rides a sled down a sand hill?

Um we do.

The very top picture of this blog is a sign I managed to create for our kitchen this week. It’s a reminder to me to look for life’s adventures and say “yes” to them. And to trust that God’s got so much more for those willing to step off the beaten path and trust Him with all the unknowns.

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