By the 1990s, we had returned to mountains of PA, begun our family, and started our homeschool journey. Walking added much to our phys. ed. class.
A 5-day program built muscles in our bodies and brains. Mondays held long leisurely strolls along our road; Tuesdays, a brisk heart-pumping walk (not a favorite of mom or kids). Wednesdays, we identified wildflowers and Thursdays, we picked up trash. Fridays, we walked with friends or family wherever we were.
These walks became our Walk-Across-America program! Each time we walked, we noted the mileage with different colors on a chart. We’d marked the distances to places we wanted to visit, such as the Statue of Liberty. We never made it to most of those goals, but we enjoyed trying.
The next walk starts with a question: have you ever been on a bear hunt? One day during our unit on bears, we read Blueberries for Sal, made a trail mix bears would eat, and created toilet-paper tube flashlights. After supper, we gathered our supplies and courage and went into the woods to hunt for bears.
Daddy led the way in the lessening light. The girls got gooey from bits of chewy fruit while I brought up the rear watching for a bear. Sure enough, around a bend, I spied one in a tree! The girls gasped and pointed their flashlights. It was a brown bear, and across the path in another tree, his white twin sat snug on a branch. Within moments, girlish giggles filled the air. Unknown to them, Daddy had snuck their teddy bears out of the house and hid them in the trees. That walk made history for the Mayfields!
With the new century, a seizure disorder often kept me housebound. Walks became fewer and shorter, although sometimes the best things are right down the road. Less than a quarter mile from our house, my husband and I enjoyed watching a barred owl baby learning to hunt. From a tree about ten feet away, the fluffy owlet peered at us. We held our breath. When his parents whistled, he turned towards their warning, then his dark eyes found us again. An amazing twenty-minutes later, he flew off. Not much exercise on that walk!
Finally, with the seizures gone and the owl grown, the current decade brought a new dog and grandchildren! Walking became a joy once more. Of course, pushing a stroller again doesn’t come as easy as a couple decades ago! Still, I need to strengthen more than my walking legs to keep up with these kids!
*** Have you ever seen amazing animals or interesting places on your walks? Tell us about one or two! To leave your story, click on the words beside the date under the title of this post. Then, scroll to the bottom of the comment section to find the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!
*** Next Monday, our story word begins with a “B.” Any guesses? It’s not balloon or badger, nor banana or blue. What could it be?
10 thoughts on “Walking – Part 2”
Beautiful memories and stories to treasure in the hearts of all! Thanks for sharing your God given gift to us all, it’s refreshing to read on a Monday morning!
Walking is something my parents had done all the time when they grew up and I too, up our long lane to catch the bus each morning! We had to allow 10 minutes extra just to walk up but it was good discipline for all 5 of us!
Have a great day! God bless!
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Glad I can make your Monday morning refreshed, Lise! I’m glad to finally be able to share my writing to more than just family (although I consider you part of that family!) When you mentioned a long lane, I thought of the lane at one of the homes we rented. From the living room window, I could see the whole lane as it crossed the creek and went up to the mailbox by the road. One day when Holly was young, I let her go get the mail by herself. I watched every step from that window, praying with the anxiety every mother feels when letting their young children fly for the first time. As soon as she got the mail and skipped back down the lane, I let out my held breath and thanked God for watching over her. I still thank Him when I know they’ve returned from trips or just from work on bad weather days, even though they no longer live at home. Thank you for sharing! Blessings, Lise!
Okay now that you’ve mentioned an owl, I will have to tell my owl story! Anyone who knows me knows how into owls I am these days, but this story takes place many years ago when I went for a walk down a country road, just to clear my head and find some peace. Things were not going so well at home. I drove to a park and got out of the car to set off walking from there. A few houses lined the road and tons of trees. At the end of the road was another road on which my great-grandparents’ and grandparents’ houses both sat, separated only by a fire station. Other people lived in those homes now as my grandparents had been gone a long time, but it was comforting to walk past them, remembering when.
I turned around to head back the way I came. The whole time I walked I was talking to God — about things. Suddenly I heard a rustling in the trees next to me. It startled me. Was somebody in the bushes going to jump out at me? I stood stock still and slowly turned my head toward the sound. Like a Magic Eye picture, it gradually came into view — a great-horned owl! Sitting on a fallen log looking right at me! I was both frightened and mesmerized. It was the first time I’d seen a real, live owl! Would it hurt me? Should I be scared? What should I do? I wanted to take its picture but thought if I moved, it would scare him away. So I just stood very still and watched him as long as he would allow it. Then he flew away.
I’d pretty much forgotten about that owl until a couple years ago when I started getting interested in owls. Then it all came back to me. Maybe I was getting a preview of things to come. Now I go on “owl prowls”, which is when a naturalist leads a group of people out into the woods, calling for owls at dusk or at dark. A different kind of walk! It’s a healing and peaceful thing for me — watching owls, whether on live cams on the computer or in person. They are beautiful and while they can be fierce predators, they are also very loving and loyal to their families and that touches my heart. What can be known about God can be seen in the things he has made. I see him in a good many things, but in the owls, I see his love and care and beauty.
Thanks for sharing about that sweet little barred owlet. Just yesterday on one of the live cams I watch, the third and youngest barred owlet whose siblings had already left the nest a few days ago, launched into the air himself to join them and enter into the great big world. You could almost hear the collective cheers and shouts from other watchers saying “You did it! Way to go!” I was one of them.
Take care Cathy and God bless!
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A GREAT-HORNED OWL!!!! I’ve only seen them at a distance, even though my husband saw one in our backyard. I hear them all the time. You must have been thrilled!
I didn’t know they had live cams for owls! I would love to have the links to any you follow if you’d care to message those to me on Facebook! I can just hear those “cheers and shouts” too! I follow one eagle live cam, but the eggs didn’t make it this year because of the heavy snowfalls.
Ever since reading Owl Moon, I have wanted to go owling. We have the perfect woods for it behind our house, with barred and great-horned owls around all year. However, we’d have to cross our creek in the dark, which I don’t relish. Also, I don’t have anyone willing to go with me and I’m a scaredy-cat. So I’ll just take my chances with serendipitous sightings!
Thank you for sharing your story, Leafy! Blessings on your week and your further owl adventures!
Owl Moon, yes I remember reading that to my kids! I didn’t know it was a great-horned owl at the time. Back then I just thought owls were owls. I’d no idea there were so many different kids. It was only after learning more about them just in the past 2 years that I looked back on that day and could identify the owl I saw as a great-horned. Probably it had a nest nearby with either eggs or babies and was making sure I didn’t come any closer! The wingspan was enormous and intimidating! But amazing! Oh I wish we could go owling together! I’d go with you if I were there!
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What fun would that be to go owling together! 🙂
What a creative and fun thing for your husband to do! I love the Blueberries for Sal book. We have seen a few real bears. One time our youngest son who was about five at the time came running in carrying his little toy bow and arrow shouting, “A Bear!” We thought he was just playing, but we looked out, and there really was a bear behind our house. I also encountered one on our driveway when I set out to walk to my in-law’s house nearby. I backed up just like Sal’s mother and took the car instead. We have seen several others but never in a scary situation like the other two times. My in-laws saw one pass nearby them as they were sitting on their porch swing. I guess we live in bear country. I used to walk alone daily up a dirt road across from our house, but one day I heard a lot of rustling nearby in the bushes. I walk in the park now.
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Thanks for sharing, Sandy! My most memorable bear sightings happened in Potter County. One was a huge male black bear across the creek from the cabin we were vacationing at. Four adults and several kids stood watching him stand up on his hind feet and rub his back on a tree. He didn’t care that we were there! And this was only about 60 feet away! Then, when he decided to mosey on up the hollow, my brother grabbed his camcorder and followed on our side of the creek. And what did I, smart mother that I am, do? Followed him…with my one-year-old in my arms! I soon realized my insaneness and went back! He frequented the area that summer and fall and was shot in bear season. Apparently, he was over 600 lbs. and they needed a crane to get him out of the woods via a logging road!
The other sighting was a few years before, minus kids. This time was a mother and 3 cubs, while my husband, myself, our dog, my one brother, and his wife were all in the back of my other brother’s open pick-up. We were spotting deer and saw them, so my brother turned his truck around and sped up a service road in the camping area. Well, he didn’t realize the bears headed that way, and we ended up only a few feet away from them. Can you imagine the chaos when my dog saw them?! We were really lucky the mother didn’t see us as a threat and attack. My dad gave my brother a talking to that time!
Wow, you’ve had some cool experiences on walks, Cathy! We saw an eagle once on the 4th of July, but it was from our car. Nevertheless, we were awed by it, and thanked God for the sighting.
Happy Day, Jen
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Thanks for sharing, Jeanette! And visiting my blog! We saw an eagle years ago on a walk in the PA Little Grand Canyon…in fact, four eagles! Two adults and two young ones learning to fish in Pine Creek! We watched them for about a half hour. What an incredible blessing!