I love this place, it holds much mystique and wonder, yet familiarity as well. I grew up going to Tyler Arboretum. We'd often go on a Sunday afternoon just for a pleasant walk in the woods. I thought about how one day maybe my kids would treasure the memories of our many visits. I sure hope so, sometimes these days it feels like pulling teeth to get everyone on the same page for a family outing. I truly hope one day they will treasure it like I do now.
I remember, as a child, upon getting there, we would go to this hollowed out tree stump where people would leave sticks perfect for walking with. That no longer exists, but my kids love to go into the little registration house, full of delightful trinkets, books, bird guides, and animal paraphenalia just to get THE MAP. Specifically, my middle two, all of 4 and 6, love to look at the map and then guide us on our journey. Hee hee, good thing there are signs along the way with arrows.
Many local sponsors and carpenters rallied together to create a delightful array of treehouses. The first one I don't like to go into, it's steps are too steep with a rope railing and I have steep stair issues. The boys tease me, but I don't mind. Then on to the next one, which is the ideal dream backyard treehouse for every boy in America. I personally like this one the best. It has two levels, and the second level (which I also will not go up) has a spiral staircase up to a tiny platform with a flag, like a lookout. It's so cool!!! I just know they feel like they are on top of the world up there! Then after I get over my anxiety as they finally descend the last teeny tiny one of the steep steps, we head on through the woods to the next exhibit. Crunch, crunch, shuffle, shuffle. Leaves are piled up pretty deep, and we all get to do the honorary fall leaf rustle march. ( I LOVE crunching and shuffling through fall leaves, I feel like a kid every year in the fall!!!!!!!) Our next stop is at a house, made out of a tree in the shape of a guitar that you can go inside and actually play music. It's rather ingenious! Although more for the littler kids enjoyment, I must admit I'd love me one of these in my backyard!!
Next is what the older boys say is for girls. It's like a place to have a woodland tea party. Clark and Christian would gladly sit and play for awhile, but since big boys are along, we hurry past that site this time. Headed this time, to the tallest of the tree houses, certainly not for the faint of heart (when it comes to heights that is.) Oh yes, I have climbed this one before, but not this time. I just chill out with Christian as the older boys do just what older boys do. Run. On a very tall tree platform, as their mother pretends not to notice and not to have a heart attack.
Five boys safely down the tree, on the path, we head to MY FAVORITE, the vegetable garden. The most dreamy garden ever, that only suits exactly what my imagination has contrived all these years. If I ever have a garden, this is exactly what I want. Think Hobbits. Think the Shire. Yes, it's that dreamy!! But alas, it is November and the garden is being put to bed for the winter. Sigh. The boys do not seem to mind however. As we tread on down the path past the garden, the boys hop along the tree stump play area toward the pond.
Right along the outskirts of the pond lies Thoreau's cabin. Yes, a replica of the cabin he built himself long ago. It's delightfully cozy inside the tiny one room cabin with a tiny loft, and smells delightfully of wood. I do believe the boys would die to have such a cool little cabin to play in everyday. In and out though, we have places to go, as we continue to march along to the POND.
Boys and water, are a curious combination. It's a miracle no one has delved in those murky, lilly pad infested waters.
No more geese, must be on their way south for the winter.........or maybe not yet perhaps, but just out and about. The turtles were, however, basking happily on their logs, faithful to not disappoint us. Somehow, several boys came upon sticks that made their way into the water. Perhaps an attempt to fish, or to just get in there, as if looking into the water weren't enough. Finally satisfied with what the pond had to offer, we carry on, this time up a hilly path. Our destination, the meadow maze.
Two little tired boys make our hike a bit challenging, but one on my back and one in his umbrella stroller chariot escorted by two 1o year old boys, and we reach the peak of the hill, all a bit panting, yet eager to enter the maze. The meadow maze is now at it's most fun, as the grasses are as tall as I am if not taller. The boys eagerly trod along the mown path hoping to figure out the secret way into the center of the labyrinth. I decide to let them choose their own path, for adventure's sake of course, as I decide to cut to the chase and let my momma instincts guide me directly to the heart of the maze. Once there, I walk up the plank of the woodland meadow maze exhibit and wave to the boys to lead them on in. Not long after they all race their way to me, and enjoy running along the carefully crafted wood plank exhibit. Displaying various animals in their habitat, all made out of nature. Quite artistic I must say. Jake, my boy's friend, assures me that he knows the way out and to follow him. So off we go again back to the path that will this time lead us toward our journey home.
I simply cannot describe the satisfaction that comes with experiencing a day like this with my family. I am full of joy just being able to share such a special place like this with my boys. I treasure each memory, each curiousity, each discovery, they all bring me back to when I was a kid and they also take me into the future as I wonder how my boys will recall such times one day. Such blissful days are the days we have with our young ones!!!!!!