Free Time on Their Day Off


What could be better on a day off than a nature walk?

Nature walk

We are blessed to live just five minutes from the glorious and extensive American River Parkway. Although I grew up around here, I really didn’t use this local resource until I had children of my own. I revel in the opportunity to spend a few hours in the middle of what seems like nowhere— sometimes, on days like this, we can carve a glorious afternoon out of our busy schedules.



Out here, the sky is bluer, the dry grasses smell sweeter, the fallen acorns are plentiful, and the sunshine through the wild grapes vines and wild figs is like millions of stained-glass windows in gold and green, orange and red. The river runs swift most of the year, and right now the salmon are struggling upstream to spawn.


But on this day, we never made it to the actual river. We found a sleepy pond with cool, clear water and a sandy beach. Our hike fizzled here, in favor of staying and playing in water and on shore.

Always striving

There was important leaping to do.


And flying.


You can see why we stayed, right? Even our little dog deigned to get his fancy paws wet and dirty.


He’s not much of a water dog, but we’ve seen him become braver over the last couple of years as we have taken him along with us on our family adventures in nature.



Lucas waded far out into the water to pick up this damaged dragonfly. After a few moments of resting in Lucas’s hand, it flew away despite missing half a wing.


The whole thing was utterly sublime—sparkles on the water and yogic reflections, warm sun, and a cool breeze in the shade—until my boys realized that this was an ideal place to play shoot-’em-up war games. And since my rules on such behavior are “No shooting/war in the house” and “No shooting/explosions/laser sound effects in the car,” I had to admit they were within bounds to play that game there. We moseyed on home not too long after they started that, however.

Great blue heron

This is a great blue heron surveying his territory. He sat there on his perch like a king the whole time we enjoyed his pond.

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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