Every day - ok, almost every day - even if I'm feeling horrible, we go. It's the time of day the kids enjoy most. Some days there are only three or four of us, others there are nine or ten or anywhere in between. We don't go far - just to the end of the street and back, sometimes it takes ten minutes. Sometimes two hours. It depends on what we find along the way. Storm drains are a huge attraction for the little ones, as are sprinklers. The kids are always thankful when the neighbors are watering their lawns when we walk, if the sprinklers are close enough to the road or sidewalk.
On our walk, we check up on a robin's nest. We visit one neighbor's turtles, ducks, frogs, and other creatures or the statue variety. We walk, we run, we race, we see how fast we can go, then how slowly. We celebrate the rain. We let our imaginations soar in the clouds. We hope for rainbows.
We come upon wildlife - a Cooper's Hawk soaring overhead to perch in the trees behind our house, a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest and didn't survive, worms, salamanders, chipmunks, squirrels, ants carrying impossibly big things, a huge beetle that's just a bit too scary to cause anyone to want to try to bring it back home to identify. Then there are mushrooms, flowers, sticks,worms, butterflies, and leaves that require copious attention.
Stories are found in every crack and crevice of our journey. Stories about where the white splatters going down the center of the road might have come from; about the neighborhood cats who may be long-lost relatives to our cats; about the mourning doves who call to us from invisibility; and the dogs that bark at us from various houses and yards.
We all return home refreshed, energized, grateful for each other, for the world around us. That our walk is so wonder-filled is not because our street is different than any other street, it's because we open our eyes, hearts, and imaginations to the magic around us.