WHEN Emma was tiny, often on walks we would sit still and just watch and listen. Now that her whole world has exploded into one great question why, it takes a bit more effort to sit in peace and absorb the world around us. Twice this week however it has happened quite naturally and we were able to enjoy some time just being still. The first was in our back garden, as we took a break from some long-overdue cleanup to warm up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. A large flock of American robins descended upon our lawn and Emma became fascinated by the noisy foraging in the dead leaves, so we sat and watched them for a while. It was she who alerted me to the tap tap tapping of a woodpecker high up in one of our pines, though we couldn't find him. We also saw a blue jay, a pair of cardinals and watched a couple of "doyors" (squirrels) playing chase.
The next day, we went to our favourite swamp place for a walk. While Basil explored in the woods, I and the children sat on a log watching the creek. Along the mud bank were hundreds of mouse-sized holes and we sat in silence hoping something would peek out. I guess they were all hibernating, night animals or, as Emma hypothesized, "gone out shopping" as none graced us with their whiskers. But we did hear lots of rustly noises, some coming from the leaves under our feet which turned out to be a large beetle. And then the peace came crashing to a halt as a big slobbery labrador charged back through the bushes. Back to the real world.