Sunday, March 25, 2007

Small Joys

"Oooh, neat!"
-Miniwether as she watched the wall of water smash everything in its path.

I was happy. Everything worked perfectly and the resulting destruction revealed a new souce of excitement: a tarantula!!

But I should start at the beginning. Once again Saturday was spent out at the new nature preserve off Riley-Fuzzel. I and my girls and Clark and his daughters were mainly just hanging out making sandcastles on a clean, white sandbar, talking to fishermen (and playing with their fish), and chasing butterflies. There's something about little girls that turn he-man adventurers into wussies.

Eventually we convinced the girls to take a walk into the woods. There was a beaver-filled pond nearby that I wanted to check out. A two-minute walk brought us to its shore. No beavers were in sight but the girls quickly invented "slime-fishing" and forgot all about looking for beavers.

Ah, slime fishing, truely the sport of kings. You take a long stick and use it to drag a wad of green algae out of the water. The girls squealed in delight each time they managed to get one ashore. "I caught one! I caught one!" they'd yell and Miniwether would even "take it off the hook" for the Clarkettes. Mambowether thought the green slime was so neat she decided to make some of her own. Not a problem though. I've changed poopy diapers on a bus careening through Chinese traffic. Changing a diaper in the woods was easy and afterwards Mambo smelled of beech leaves.

Just kidding about the beech leaves. There's no way I waste something as yummy as them on a baby's bottom! While the girls fished I introduced Mambowether to food on sticks. The area out there is filled with edible plants. Young beech leaves were everywhere to nibble. We also found lovely, giant prickly pears. Each pad was as large as my hand. One pad came home with us and ended up diced in a pot of chili. There were also lots of wild strawberries and blackberries (not ripe yet), bullrushes and water lillies (left alone but marked the location), and bamboo/river cane shoots (also left alone for now). The best find though was a wild mulberry tree. Talk about happyhappyjoyjoy!! I think mulberries are my favorite fruit. A local Librarian (everybody, say, "Hi!") has a young mulberry tree growing on her property and I keep bugging her for some of it's babies. Unfortunately, her tree is still too young to produce fruit. The one I found was a good twenty feet tall and already loaded with young berries. In a month or so we are going to have some really, really good eating. Trust me, if you can find a mulberry tree you are in for a FEAST (uh, and also lots of messy purple birds poop)!!!

But what I really want to talk about is the warm parental glow a daddy feels when he and his daughters discover a deep mutual bond. The fact that this warmth came from destruction and mayhem will probably not be a shock to any of my regular readers.

So, what happened was we came across a narrow tributary which had cut a deep gully through the sandy bank down to Spring Creek. The gully was over four feet deep and about the same width across. It was very easy to dam the rivelt up with sticks and sand. Soon the trickle of water was blocked and the reservior behind it began to fill. As it got deeper and deeper it would start to break through in areas but the girls were right there plugging it up. We then directed them to take make mud houses downstream from the dam. Soon several large clumps of mud were patted into Guggenheimish buildings, their occupants unaware of the doom soon to befall them.

Water began as a trickle over the dam's east corner. The girls wanted to staunch the flow but we held them back. Within seconds the small trickle turned into a wide stream then Clark pulled out a key branch and resevior burst out in a massive wall of destruction! The girls jumped up and down in excitment as this wall of water smashed into the mud houses and ate them away in a flash. The wall then hit a flat part of the sandbar but instead of spreading out and losing force in punched a six-inch deep channel through the sand in seconds!! The girls squealled in delight!!

Near the original dam a large branch had spanned the gully. As the water torn past under it a new thrill emerged. A giant, hairy spider crawled out from underneath to on top of the log. This thing was almost 4" tip to tip. Of course we had to poke at it with a stick.

Wrong idea!!!

Apparently having it's home destroyed by rushing water made this spider really, really mad. It LUNGED at the stick with fangs bared and dripping! Both Clark and I jumped back in startlement at the spider's ferocity! The beast took this as a sign of weakness and lunged at us again three more times before strolling off, confident that it had taught us a lesson.

Meanwhile, the Wethergirls and Clarkettes were "oohhing" and "aahhing" as the final trickles of water flowed out of the reservior. The topography downstream of the broken dam had undergone a radical change and Miniwether was especially taken by the speed and force of destruction wrought by the water. With eyes big and shiney she turned to me and said, "Ohh daddy! That was WONDERFUL!! Let's do it again!!!"

Adventure! Excitement! Annihilation!


Chris said...

slightly off subject, but what kind of fish were they catching?

Merriwether the Adventurer said...

They were pulling in stripped bass and catfish.