Thursday, April 8, 2010

creek tale

 bark boat, one of a huge fleet from this week

When we were looking for a home in the country, we hoped for a creek running through it. A bubbling brook seemed to complete our romantic notions of rural life. We got our wish! Our creek(s) have been a magical part of every season over the last 9 years. Water and children go together. In fact, we hosted "creek life" science programs during our homeschooling years. Even now, at the first sign of spring, kids start arriving at our place for playdates creek-dates with tall boots and a change of clothes. This past week was gorgeous, and I've spent  every day  guiding children of mixed ages (and comfort levels with raw nature)out in the wilds of our land. (and taking thousands of photos!)
 through the meadow to the forest

The trail through the woods is beautiful, but rugged: roots and logs to climb over and under... sharp brambles of wild roses and raspberries line the trail and reach out to snag you when you're not looking.
 daughter with dad last weekend
There's a tiny, but  muddy, creek to ford before you get to the main one... and then the adventures really begin! Yesterday we had our biggest "adventure" yet. Settle in...  I have a tale to tell!
The day was hot. Over 80 degrees! My son and his buddy (referred to as Buddy from here on) went running through the woods in search of thrills and getting wet.
 I followed along with my daughter and her little friend at a slower pace.We crossed the log bridge and scrambled along the slippery bank, walking straight through the water at times.
I could feel how frigid the creek was through my boots. This time of year is not meant for swimming in fresh water... too cold, but a little splashing is harmless. By the time we reached the boys, they had made it to a little swimming hole and jumped in. They were soaked to the skin and ecstatic, triumphant in their success at getting as wet as possible. We cheered for them, but I told them, "one more jump and you're running back for dry clothes... immediately." I said this calmly with a smile. I knew it was cold, but they were fine and having so much fun. I'll never forget that next moment. They jumped.
 My son slipped under. When he came up he screamed... not from the cold... "my glasses!!" They were gone... sunk to the bottom of waist-deep water, churned to a deep brown from so much splashing. Panic. He couldn't see well enough to search. Buddy started looking frantically. "Stay right there girls," I said and waded in. The water felt like needles as it poured over the top of my boots and seeped up my thighs. I tried to see the floor of the creek bed. Nothing. I reached my hand down to the bottom and fumbled over rocks in vain. Once the water hit my chest, I knew it was far too cold for those boys to be in any longer. All of this only lasted a matter of minutes, but that was long enough to start having visions of hypothermia. I ordered the boys out of the water and through the short cut. "Run!Run! Get out of those wet clothes!" I yelled as I carried the girls across a shallower section. As we did our own running, more like shivery sloshing on my part, I thought about the price of this loss. My son had his old pair of glasses as a back up... not great, but ok until we could get to the optometrist. The cost of replacing both the lenses and frames kept making little cash register cha-ching sounds in my brain. We had to go back. We had to at least LOOK, calmly and in dry clothes, for those glasses.But we needed a device to see under the water. Not goggles. Putting our faces in was out of the question. We needed an aqua scope!! I had been meaning to make one with the kids for years. I shared my idea with the girls as we wound our way home and we all felt happier just knowing there was a plan. By the time we gathered at the picnic table (warm and dry) with our supplies, the panic had turned to purpose... and science. I've never experienced children working together with so much passion, motivation, and concentration. They were making something useful, worthwhile... and they knew it.  Together, the boys made two improvised aqua scopes with materials on hand. I did the sharp cutting. I wasn't in the mood for accidents. The girls were right at their big brothers' sides, both wearing that universal expression of total admiration that younger siblings all seem to share.
 A tutorial will follow this post...everyone needs an aqua scope! We returned to the scene with our water devices. The boys were thrilled when they first looked through their scopes...with cries of "these are amazing!" and "they really work!".
 But even though they could now see to the bottom, no glasses. And then... could it be... maybe? Both went back in deeper to confirm.
 YES!! Buddy, or shall we say Hero as we called him for the rest of the day, dove down and retrieved the glasses!! Elation! Followed by more dry clothes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and celebration smoothies!
A new chapter to add to our list of creek stories... Pin It

38 comments:

  1. Necessity is the mother of invention! So many wonderful tangents to this story...glad it ended warmly!

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  2. What an adventure. Oh to be a child again (sigh).
    Glad the glasses were found.

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  3. omg Maya, I think I laughed, I cried & did all at the same time when reading your tale !! thank goodness everything is OK now & the glasses have been found & you all made the best of the situation ! you are the best !!!!
    thank you so much for sharing, my friend. I always love reading you, you are soooo good at that. (writing, that is !)
    oxoxoxo hugs

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  4. BRILLIANT, from beginning to end.

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  5. Thanks for joining us!
    Sonia- as a glasses wearer, and mother of a glasses wearer... I knew you'd be able to relate to this story in a special way!

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  6. What a great story...your family will be telling it for years to come! And yay for aqua scopes...I think we need some around here.

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  7. You life seems like so much fun!
    I would totally recommend getting a few pairs of spare glasses from www.optical4less.com, coupon code glassyeyes. That's where I buy all of mine. They're great quality and CHEAP!

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  8. I love this story! I can just imagine those children working together with such purpose! So glad the glasses were found. I can't wait to see how to make an aquascope... I'd never even heard of one!

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  10. Great story! It reminds me of a story we have...not quite as urgent or chilling, though. Last summer the boys' friend got his toy airplane stuck in the tree in the park behind out house. It was not in a position to climb to and was HIGH. The boys (and half the neighborhood kids) fashioned a really long pole by taping together 3-4 of my 5' cardboard tubes that my fabric comes rolled on. With a team of kids, they managed to lift and navigate the pole to joust the plane out of the tree. Many times over! So much fun to see their ingenuity and teamwork!

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  11. So glad the glasses were found! and we would love a tutorial for the aquascope here at my house....we also have a much loved and splashed in brook that has been seeing a lot of my children this Spring :)

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  12. Your children are so lucky to live in such a wonderful place - adventures galore to be had everyday.
    Beautiful post Maya.

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  13. great story. would be great picture book! love the aqua scope, can't wait to share this with my girl, she is going to want to make one right away. i can't believe that you found the glasses. oh happy day!
    what is planned for today?

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  14. What a great adventure you and your kiddo's had!So glad you found those glasses! I would have so been doing the Cha-Ching dance in my head too!
    I really enjoyed your post! Have a Super Terrific Day!

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  15. What a great story!! I loved reading this, it had all of the ups and downs of a great adventure story. I'm so glad it turned out well :)

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  16. that is an awesome and wondrous story! I love the creek adventure, and then to turn it into such an amazing, scientific, purposeful learning opportunity. Genius. And I'm sure it's something not one of those kids (or you) will ever forget.

    That's a great memory.

    You are my hero again.

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  17. Glad that the glasses were found, and can't wait for the aquaviewer tutorial!

    Your story reminded me of the time my husband found my wedding band after it fell off while I was swimming in a lake...

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  18. Maya,
    what a wonderful story. We used to homeschool years ago. Children are in college and high school now.
    I have to tell you I was the let's go on a field trip queen. It made learning so much more fun and real. Your idea of aquascopes sounds so cool. You definitely were the cool mom that day. Looking forward to your tutorial on how to make them.
    By the way, my fave pic is the last two photos. Wow, what a fun day you all had. thanks for sharing.

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  19. What a great story! I love how made the whole experience into a experiment for them. Now I'm excited to try out an aqua scope with my kids :).

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  20. Absolutely charming story! The fly fishermen were out in the Saranac River last weekend and I was shivering watching them - I can't IMAGINE how hold you and the kids must have been!

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  21. Oh my GOODNESS, what an adventure! You are so wonderful - turning a potentially month-ruining situation into an opportunity for learning, excitement - and success!

    Wow - just wow.

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  22. We still joke with my stepson that his glasses are being worn around by the fish in his grandparent's lake! Wish we'd had an aquascope on that day 20 years ago- these kinds of tales do live on for sure!

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  23. WoW what a great story. I was on the edge of my seat. Once my aunt lost her RX sunglasses and offered us kids $100 if we could find them. We searched and searched. If only I had had an aqua scope I could have had $100!

    I'll bet your kids will be telling this story for years to come.

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  24. I am jealous of your creek. I grew up with one right behind my house. It was the best time of my life. I wish that for my children as well. We spend a lot of time at the river, where small creeks abound. This will have to do until we can find our own. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. what a great story. It sounds like you're giving your children a wonderful childhood.

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  26. That is a fantastic story! It brings back memories my own childhood growing up with a creek behind our house. When all of us grown-up kids get together, we in inevitably end up reminiscing about all the time we spent playing in and around it.

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  27. what a fun story! so glad it had a happy ending. ;)

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  28. What an adventure! Glad glasses and kids ended up safe and sound. What a level head you have to round up what you had to get what you needed. And have fun at that! I'm impressed. And envious of your creek(s)

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  29. Great story! Glad they were found. And I so want to go to a playdate at your place. I grew up on a farm with a creek in the back. It truly is magic.

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  30. Wow! An adventure indeed! Your kids (and Buddy) are always going to remember this. You're so resourceful. Yay you!

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  31. Hooray for the aqua scopes!! What a fine story with such a happy ending too.

    Jody

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  32. This was so much fun to share with all of you! It was much quieter around here today... phew! I think the glasses might need a little adjusting, but that's FREE!

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  33. what a wonderful, heartwarming story. And the little ones with their admiration. love it. And I think i shall be a hero this summer when we make some of these aqua things for the kids at the beach.
    great that you went back.
    thanks for sharing.

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  34. wow! what a fun! the aquascope is very beautiful! chiara and I will make it! thank you for this idea!

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  35. Absolutely brilliant. I am a big softy and I'm afraid I actually cried when it became clear that you (or buddy the hero) was going to find the glasses. Fantastic. I love reading about your life in the country.

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  36. Ah, the richness of *real life adventure!* The thrill of loss and discovery, need and invention, teamwork, encouragement, admiration, and resourcefulness - and an adult who believes in the abilities of children. Makes my heart sing. Every child deserves such a childhood, and what a wonderful world it would be...

    We'll be making aqua-scopes with our "Big Kids" (2-4 year olds) to explore with in the coming weeks as we hike the nature trail near our child care center. Thanks for the inspiration and information!

    In kindred spirit ~ Andrea

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  37. Phew! What an exciting tale - so glad it ended happily!

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  38. Wow, it looks so beautiful where you live Maya. What an amazing place for you children to grow up!
    Loved your story, and I'm happy to hear the ending was a good one.

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