Welcome to the Wildwood, a magical forest where anything can happen. It’s a place to stop and relax for a bit. Take a soft deep breath, and slowly let it go. Let’s do that again. Take a deep breath in, and slowly let it go. Feel your heart slow down as you relax. You can close your eyes if you want, and use your mind’s eye to picture your adventure. Can you feel the warm of the sun on your face and arms? Do you feel the tall grass brushing against your finger tips?
You open your eyes and find yourself standing on a path in a clearing in the woods. Tall grass, milkweed and wildflowers surround you. You stop for a minute to look at the flowers closely. Some are a light purple with yellow centers and lots of thin petals. Some you recognize as buttercups and you smile at the cheery sunny flowers. You take a deep breath and notice the air smells sweet.
“Hi there!” A voice hollers to you. You look up to see Addie waving at you from just ahead. Her bright red hair shimmers in the sun. Her brother George runs up from behind her and waves too. Both are dressed in shorts and tee shirts, and you find you are too. It is a warm day and you’re glad for cool clothes. You walk up to them. George jumps around, his shaggy sandy blond hair flopping around. “We can’t wait to show you what’s at the pond!”
Addie takes your hand and you walk toward the direction they were coming from. The tall grass tickles at your hand. Small light blue butterflies flitter back and forth so quickly that they’re hard to see. They dance ahead of you on the path as if they’re leading the way. A bigger yellow and black butterfly joins them for a moment, then flies away again. They never seem to be still enough to get a good look at.
Up ahead you see that the path splits and you take the left fork. Up ahead you see a pond peeking out from behind even taller grass here. Addie and George stop and point. “Look,” they whisper and point. You look and see two Canadian geese waddling towards the pond. Then you see what it was that Addie really wanted to show you, six little goslings toddling in between their parents to get into the pond. Slowly you start to move towards them as they begin to swim out into the pond. You smile at how cute they are- just little yellow and gray fuzz balls, you think. They swim in between and around their parents, and then towards a rock at the center of the pond. “That’s where she lays her eggs each year,” George tells you in a soft voice. You stop near the edge of the pond and sit on a nearby handmade wooden bench. “They just hatched a couple of days ago.”
Once they reach the rock, one of the bigger geese climbs up first, and the other stays in the water as the little ones climb up too. Sometimes they slip and slide back to the water, but eventually they all make it up to sit and rest, as the other goose continues to swim around the them. “We think that’s the dad, because he’s a little bit bigger and keeps an eye on everyone.”
The goslings all tuck in around the mama goose and start a morning nap. Together you get up from the bench and move closer to the edge of the pond when something jumps and splashes into the water. You jump and realize it was probably a frog. As you look along the water’s edge, you spy a green and brown frog sitting partly out of the water. You try to get closer for a better look and he jumps into the water too. Two more unseen frogs jump in from the grass at the water’s edge. You jump and giggle. You listen to the buzzing insects and chirps of different birds hidden up in the canopy of the trees. There are so many different sounds that its like the forest is making its own music.
With a smile you rejoin Addie and George on the bench, and you sit in companionable silence for a while, listening and watching. Birds swoop back and forth among the trees, and occasionally you hear a rustling in the woods behind you, and you spy chipmunks and squirrels running through the brush. The wind rustles the leaves and the water from the pond gently laps the shore. “We should go,” Addie whispers to you. “And let them rest.”
Together you walk quietly from the shore and a few minutes later you find yourself back where you started. “Thank you for showing me!” You say goodbye to your friends, knowing you’ll see them again soon.