Dispatches from the Western Front: Wild Things

An Awesome Place

The confines of home have been comforting and tranquil, but they are, at times, just that: confines.

And for a family that is used to always going places for intellectual stimuli and entertainment, finding new means to those ends has challenged us.

Two rambunctious young boys also challenges things. They simply cannot stay inside the home for too long. They’re like dogs—they need to run.

But with parks, beaches, and trails closed, we’re left with our neighborhood. While walks and bike rides have been the bright spots of the day, those too have proven mundane when you circumnavigate your loop fourteen times.

So where can adventurers explore now?

Around our townhouse community, we’ve discovered a surprisingly large system of gullies. While most are at a slight decline meant to carry rain run-off down to the storm drains, there are some that are steep and go high into the canyon walls.

Atop one peak is one of the most breathtaking views I’ve seen of our local valley.

We’ve also found a place that has been there all along, but overlooked for years. Our complex is at the mouth of an inter-urban canyon that links up with another plateaued neighborhood. My wife and I hiked it years ago, pre-kids, but we had since forgotten about it.

The boys and I have gone trekking down to the canyon and have found a wonderland of rocks and sand, trees, and insects. The best part, no other people.

Neighbors walk by the slope that leads to the canyon every day, but they simply overlook it. Rediscovering it with my sons has been like finding a secret land where we can still be outdoors connected to our true, wild natures.

We’ve begun lining rocks to make a trail, digging up sand and dirt, and hiking further into the canyon every day. We’ve also taken up walking sticks, the three of us each carrying a staff for support, protection, and to feel a bit more magical in this dark time of plague.

I’m grateful we have such an outlet so close to home. I want to abide by social distancing, yet I still need a place for my little boys’ imaginations run wild in the natural world—for them to know it’s still an awesome place.

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Photo by Jamie Hagan on Unsplash

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