Perfection at Whipple Creek

There are just two other cars in the parking lot, and nary a soul to be seen.

Perfect, I think to myself, as I release my son from the bondage of his car seat, only to switch him into the bondage of the soft-structure carrier on my back.  He is gratifyingly complacent about the whole process, which just makes everything better.  Nathan is at church this morning, and now I'm at mine.  Time to get my spiritual recharge on.
Oh there we are
We've never been to this place before- only twenty minutes from home, and much tamer than The Gorge (capital T, capital G) but wild enough to give me the greenair I'm craving.  The trails are well marked and well-maintained, which is not unwelcome to my still-recovering ankle.  We delve into the shadowy woods.

For the first half hour or so we talk a lot, with plenty of stops for me to sidle up close to the ferns and trees and flowers that have caught his attention enough to demand, "Wha dat?", so that he can reach out and feel them.  I'm realizing I need to get a field guide so that I can give him better answers than, "Well, um, that's another kind of deciduous tree."
...aaaand that is a flower I've never seen before.

He drops off to sleep around the time that I start the second mile, and I spend some time enjoying my pseudo-solitude in the greenquiet.  A bird starts to pii at me from a bush off the trail, and when I finally spot her tiny, tiny brown body I cannot help but exclaim, "Look at your perfection!"
Lulled, by and by

On I walk, looping and crossing, mentally drafting a new story and admiring the early sun on the delicate structure of spiderwebs.  I try to point the lovely orb-weavers out to my newly-wakened son, but he is so engrossed by everything that I'm not sure he understands my pointing to one thing in specific.
Spinning sunlight

I continue my drafting aloud, thinking to entertain him a bit with story-craft, and then all of a sudden we come across a perfectly-ruined mill.  Immediately my thoughts fly to what a fine semi-castle it makes, out here in the semi-wild.
Castle Dreaming

As we approach the final half mile, an owl the size of my son cruises past my face so closely that I can discern the individual spots on his feathers.  "Oh my!" I gasp, like a heroine from another century, and regret that my son probably didn't see it at all- let alone the fact that it was being chased by three birds whose collective mass was surely less than my doubled-fists.

We re-emerge from the greenlight into the yellow of mid-morning, just as my son begins to express his utter doneness with our outing.  Perfectly timed.

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