The Undiscovered Playground
The boys had been at home for several days in a row by Saturday. They’d played in the back yard, the basement, and everywhere in between. They didn’t seem to mind, but it was in everyone’s interest to give them an outing and let Kira have some time at home with a little less screaming and carnage. So we thought we’d escape to a park.
There are many a beautiful park in the area, but we tend to stick with the two closest to us (within walking distance). I thought we’d spread our wings, as it were, and venture a bit further to find some new stomping grounds.
It was a lot of fun! The kids quickly discovered that a short distance away there is a large patch of bushes that were planted in such a way as to provide a sort of maze underneath them, just large enough for children their ages. That led to all sorts of imaginary and hiding games.
The fun went on for some time, and I finally caught a moment to rest on a bench. Avey came over after a few minutes to talk to me, but shrieked mid-sentence, and pointed to something next to me. I assumed the worst (a spider sucking all of my blood out and laying eggs inside the wound), but when I jumped up to look for the source of her exclamation, I saw this on the bench:
It was a praying mantis! Its wing appeared to be injured, and it only crawled slowly around the bench. That made for the highlight of the day. Avey has liked this type of insect for a long time now, first becoming interested in them from the Kung Fu Panda trilogy, and she even made the mantis the subject of a bug sculpting school project she did while we lived in El Paso. Still, seeing a real live one was a bit humbling.
We all watched with awe as it crawled around and inspected us. Eventually, I placed my hand out and it crawled onto my arm. Carver decided he would like to make friends with Monty the Mantis, too.
The other kids opted to keep their distance, though Avey carried Monty around on a stick to show to the other young park patrons. She was met with mixed reactions.
All things considered, it was a great adventure, and we may have found a new favorite park. We’ll now have to try new ones more often.