When I was a kid there was a well publicized movement about latch key kids and the horrors of what happened to these unsupervised children. I don’t know if this issue was the beginning of helicopter parenting or if that developed on its own. When I was a kid, you rode without a helmet on your bicycle, played with fire, climbed trees, and got poison ivy routinely. As parents, we are extremely fortunate because by living on the farm, we are able to tell our kids to get outside and come home when the sun goes down. We have three neighbors who also live on the farm and who also home school so there is almost always a few parents around at all times, and all the kids know one another.
Last weekend SWMBO informed me that she’d have to go out for a few hours in the middle of the day and that I’d need to watch the kids. That was fine, except I was covering for both Miguel and Emily who were both off of work. That meant I had to go to the markets and do our normal daily pickup. The other families were on the farm so it was decided that the kids could play outside in the beautiful weather and I’d check on them coming and going. As I pulled back onto the farm with a trailer and truck loaded with produce, I found this.
This is Swift Creek. It borders one side of our land and is a pretty hard boundary to our property. We really never cross it for any reason. Of course the other side (which is EXACTLY like our side) is mysterious and magical. I know, because when I was a kid it was the same way. I pulled up to find the girls, along with their friend all crossing this downed tree to get to the other side. All three can swim, and the water was only a few feet deep and slow moving, so it really wasn’t a big deal. When they saw me, the girls were worried they would be in trouble. Having been a kid, I knew how cool it was to get to the other side. I grabbed a handful of fresh bananas I had on the truck and walked down to the creek.
King and Ruby were both with the girls, and King had apparently made repeated attempts to cross the creek by walking across the downed tree like the girls were doing, except he kept falling in. He looked like a drowned rat and was shivering and cold. The girls, who were wading waist deep in the water seemed not to notice the frigid water temps.
All three girls on the other side of the creek. Muddy, soaking wet, and not really wearing all their clothes but enough that they would be ok. With everyone safely across, I left the bananas on the sandy beach for a victory picnic for their return and wished the girls well. They were delighted and spent some time exploring before coming back. In another few weeks there will be snakes, bugs, briars, and all kinds of reasons to not cross this creek. The girls had hit this opportunity at just the right time and I’m glad they did.
Farm girls aren’t born, they are made, one adventure at a time.