A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Muddying the waters
Spring sprang for a short while this weekend, and I decided to haul the dotter out to wander in the woods. There are certain signs that spring is thinking of edging our way: The mountain bluebirds suddenly reappear in the forests, swooping with vivid blue flashes from tree branch to tree stump and across the meadows, flirting their wings and singing their songs. Sunlight suddenly lasts longer; in the past few weeks, we've gone from sunset-at-5:30 to sunset-at-6:30. The angle of the light changes. Oh, probably it was changing all along, but suddenly it becomes noticeable. And the wind begins. Spring in Small Mountain University Town is a time of wind, blowing from the west. It's not quite as extreme as it was when we lived in Lubbock, when you had winds that gathered speed and momentum from falling down the sides of mountain ranges then traversing hundreds of miles of flat plains. But it's there. I love the wind--it makes me want to run and dance and twirl around, heart pounding, as if the sap were rising in my body. So, anyway, there it was: quite springlike. After a day spent cozening my swollen chipmunk chin, and a night in bed with hot compresses (bleah), I had to get out. So the dotter and I loaded ourselves into the Little Green Car and headed to the back side of Hippy Dippy Enclave in the Woods. My first thought was to hang a right at the road-going-over-the-ridge, stop by the fence in Whatever-its-name-is Wash, and hike along the bottom of the decaying limestone bluffs. We reached the intersection with RGOTR, and saw that it was a solid mass of water and slurgy clayey mud. Peering up the road, I could see that it was slurgy clayey mud and slushy snow, with gigantic ruts in the road, all the way up. Hmmm. Bad idea. I motored on to the next option, the intersection with OmegaDad's-favorite-cross-country-skiing-road. There, too, was a large mass of water and mud, on both sides of the cattle guard, but eyeballing the road further up, it looked okay. So I gunned the Little Green Car through the open gateway, across the cattle guard, through the water and mud, and slewed to a stop by the side of the road in an area where the car didn't look like it would sink. Too deep. When I came around the car and opened her door, OmegaDotter peered out of the open door at the mud and uttered the sound of disgust of preschoolers around the world: "Ewwwwww! It's muddy! Yuck!" Little did she know. Bwahaha! I directed her to stand on the tufts of grass and duff, and walk from one to the other like stepping stones, over to the road. "Ewwwww!" "Mud!" "Yuck!" Ahem. We had heard this song and dance already. She insisted on holding my hand, which made navigating the drier spots a bit more difficult--as they needed to be wider. Finally, I persuaded her to let go of my hand, and we headed on up the hill. I listened to birdsong and felt the wind lifting my hair, and coached the dotter on avoiding the slurgy mud spots, and soon...soon, she was running across the crusty old snow alongside the drowned spots in the road, and dipping her sneaker-clad toes into the water delicately, then with less delicacy. Quickly, she learned to tell the difference between the slurgy mud--where your shoes sink in, and any attempt to walk a straight line results in your feet slipping and sliding and making great big "Ssspppllllrrrch!" sounds as the sneaker emerges from the mud--and the wet-but-hard sandy mud spots. We reached an area where there was a small stream of water steadily running down the road, and I stopped to peer at it, urging the dotter to take notice of how fast the water was running. We had actually climbed up fairly high, but it was a gentle slope uphill, so we didn't realize it until we saw the water, and looked back whence we had come. It was time to build dams. We built a dam of little rocks on the tiny roadway stream. The dotter quickly got into the spirit of things, digging out little and big rocks and bringing them over. We watched as the water collected behind the rocks, then found pathways between the bigger rocks and over the smaller rocks and around the entire dam, and the collected water quickly swirled downstream again. A little further on, we built a dam of "stuff"--pinecones and sticks and mud. This one didn't work as well. A little further on, we found a spot where the little stream had carved a canyon about a foot deep in the road, and this time we made a dam of rocks and sticks and pinecones and lots of mud (by caving in the sides of the canyon. This one worked beautifully, filling up to three or four inches deep, drying out the tiny streambed below, and then, when the water reached a certain depth, suddenly breaking through in a flurry of small waterfalls. Then it was time to turn around and head back to the car. OmegaDotter ran in front of the gusty breeze, dancing and laughing and waving her arms. She splashed in and out of varying kinds of muds. She grabbed sticks and drew in the dirt. Not an "Ewwwwww!" was uttered until we were back to the car, and she took a look at her shoes, socks, and the cuffs of her jeans. All went well until I tried driving back out. Um. It's a lot easier to drive through muck and mud when starting from a nice dry dirt road. The car surged and bucked, wheels spun, mud splattered through the air...the car aimed squarely at the solid fence post that delineated the edge of the gateway, and it was only by some really fancy wheel spinning and brake-work that I managed to get the car through the opening, instead of stuck in the mud or smashed into the fence post. Once we arrived back in our driveway, the dotter ooohed and ahhhed over the mud covering the Little Green Car, took off her blackened shoes and socks on the porch, and darted into the house to insist that OmegaDad come out and see ("No, no, no, don't tell!"--she waved demanding hands at me as she commanded this). A few hours later, she was daintily dressed up in her fancy black and red party dress, white tights and black patent leather shoes, her hair smoothed back into mom's favorite ponytail creation, ready for our little FCC Chinese New Year party.
posted by Kate @ 2/19/2007 01:40:00 PM  
  • At 2/19/2007 08:13:00 PM, Blogger Granny J said…

    I am reminded of that wonderful picture of young OmegaMom at about the same age, running through the woods. It was autumn rather than spring, but the exhilaration was the same. I hope you got some pictures of the granddaughter.

  • At 2/20/2007 10:57:00 AM, Anonymous Jane K. said…

    Since you missed the Chinese New Year celebration down in the Valley of Death, you should go to Victoria in British Columbia to see some awesome pictures of the New Year's celebration there at http://oceanwalks.blogspot.com.

  • At 2/20/2007 01:01:00 PM, Blogger Kirstin said…

    Wow. That sounds really fun.

    And, glad you got home safely!

    (I'm geoduck from NOTI.)

  • At 2/20/2007 08:10:00 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Mamasan--Alas, no pics! I didn't bring the camera...besides, I think taking pics might have interrupted the mood. I remember that photo you are talking about, and was thinking of it at one particular point, as the dotter went windmilling down the road.

    Jane--Those pics are great!

    Kirstin--It really was fun, and I, too, am glad we made it home in one piece. I had a moment there where I really thought that we were going to have to walk home in disarray, and wondering what OmegaDad would say!

  • At 2/21/2007 04:49:00 PM, Blogger SBird said…

    I love to think of Dotter as the mud engineer! Great imagery.

    In New England, they talk about five seasons: the usual four and Mud Season.

  • At 2/21/2007 10:53:00 PM, Blogger Kirstin said…

    I've got a guess. "Mud! Yuck!"

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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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