Meditations on Mud

muddy forest floor

It’s a springlike 60 degrees here today.  Katie came down with an ear infection yesterday, so I cancelled the dentist appointment, and today became a real at-home day.  She’s feeling much better, so we took a walk down to the river this morning.

She’s discovered mud, and it delights her.  She thinks it’s fun to slip down the muddy hill, her footing unsure, but her hand tight in mine.

It makes me think, there’s got to be a message here.  I don’t generally like slippery footing.  I like control!  I’m not particularly fond of dirt, or laundry for that matter.  But it’s hard to stay tense about staying upright and preventing a child’s fall, when the child’s giggles are determined to cut  right through those unproductive concerns.

So I surrender.  She says “Oh no, my pants are muddy” and I say, “that’s what washing machines are for.”  She says “that was fun, let’s do it again!” I say a silent prayer of gratitude that there are no meetings today, no deadlines to meet, and I have a  husband willing to slog through 53 patients a day during the height of flu season to allow me mornings like this.  Then I say, “ok!”.

We struggle up the slippery, muddy, hill…sometimes sliding backwards. I still try to keep my footing, so as not to bring  her crashing down. She laughs with joy, completely unconcerned.  It’s fun to slide.  It’s silly to go up only to come down again. It’s funny to put your foot one place, and have it end up somewhere completely different.

We make it up the hill, and decide to head for home.  But we find a treasure — a great big sand deposit under the leaves, from when this land was the river bed!  I never knew what a dynamic thing the river bank was until we moved down here 5 years ago.  Already our favorite “mossy place” is history…the tree whose roots were our benches fell into the river during a summer storm last year.

So we sit down and play in the sand.  We build a castle, and fashion kings, queens, and dragons out of straw and bits of bark, plant a leaf flag.  The castle changes into Pride Rock, and Scar is the dark skinny stick.

We decide it’s lunch time, and we amble back, on the look-out for puddles and squishy mud. “GUSH AWERT!” she yells cheerfully, when she spots the black mounds pushed up by the moles, likely to be extra squishy.  We stop to make some delicious chocolate cookies and pancakes, and leave them to dry on a log.

We step up onto a fallen log that blocks our way. “Now mommy, I’ll count, and we’ll jump together!”
“Ok.”
“One, Two, Three…”
 (mommy jumps)
“No, mommy, I’m counting to eweven this time!”

I’m really beginning to like mud.  And I wonder sometimes what I ever did to be so blessed with such wonderful teachers…



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