There is a beautiful place in the woods near Houghton Lake...a little bridge looking over a small lake surrounded by a buffer of wetlands and then forest. M brought me there early in our relationship, and since then we've been there probably a dozen times to watch the moonrise, look for wildlife, or just to listen to the frogs.
A few years ago, when we brought my family there after a long day of driving and blueberry picking, we were all resting with our legs hanging over the edge. I spotted a beautiful butterfly resting on a log beneath us. From her vantage point, my sister-in-law E couldn't see it. "Wow," I said. "It's so incredible...it has these orange and black wings, it's almost irridescent." She listened to my excited description, thought about moving over to look at it, but instead dryly asked, "So, basically, it's a moth?" Heehee...she has such a way with words. :)
Last year when we brought Baby E to see the bridge, Daddy taught her how to use a walking stick. She picked up a beaver log that was as big as she was and clumsily crossed the bridge. Then she sat down in the dirt, and we got the first of many "Dirty E" pictures. She sat there for quite some time, throwing sand in the air, laughing, picking up tiny pebbles and picking grass. It was an absolute joy to watch.
We were back there this past weekend to do a geocache with E, Baby m and our nephew, J. After the find (a container hidden in the stump shown at the left), J was asking if we could go on to another one, and we said that we would look at the time because he had to be back at the cottage by four o'clock. Then M discovered a water snake, and we watched him slither around looking for a spot to come onto shore. J listened to us oooh and aaah about it, waited for us to take a video and discuss what kind of snake it might be...when I asked him what he thought about it, he said, "Nice. So I wonder what time it is." Very subtle...I guess that's as subtle as 7-year-olds get.
I'm thinking we need to visit the bridge on every trip north from here on out. There's something about it...basically, I love that place.