by Bill Hudson
First, I want to wish all of you the best. These are rare times of extreme caution, prayer, reflection, and adaptation as we all must change our lives together. But it is not a time to lose our sense of gratitude and humor.
In my house, which Ellie and I share with our daughter Valerie and her two sons Liam age 8, and Henry age 3, things have changed big time. Liam is being home schooled. Henry is no longer in daycare and Val rarely has paid work. She is mom and now Liam's second-grade teacher. I rarely escape to my studio. And Ellie seldom leaves home on days that were once filled with “errands.” We are living every minute together and I find myself laughing the entire day while observing my grandsons.
Each day includes a family bike ride around Mile Square Park across the street. What began as a 2-mile trip is up to 8 miles. We know nearly every path, bridge, road, and secluded resting spot. We take turns as leader and we began naming familiar features such as the “Golden Gulch,” the “Snake Pit,” the “Racetrack,” and “Liam’s Ditch.” Things that were rarely appreciated as we once drove our cars past the park three or four times each day, have far dearer value as we slowly pass through while observing trees, ponds, birds, grassy hills, and flowers along the way.
Yesterday we had nearly an inch of rain and more was predicted for the next three days. This morning had a short two-hour window of dry skies and we took advantage by quickly heading over to Mile Square Park on our bikes. Liam and I have our own bikes; Val peddles her bike with Henry in a child seat. Liam said, “OK, I’m the leader. Follow me.” We did and it made all the difference.
The trails and roads were full of puddles—some small, some covering an entire road. And therein lies the difference in the trail selected by a seasoned adult to that of a thrill-seeking eight-year-old. Today’s bike ride was far more memorable and fun-filled than any of the past. What began with cautiously crossing a shallow puddle, ended with plowing through deep puddles at high speed getting our feet and backs wet. No one fell in which meant no ill-fated lessons learned for Liam. But Val and I learned to enjoy life once again with the wonder of a child.