Waking up to the beautiful rays of the Texas sun seeping into my room, my mom and I stretch sleep from our limbs. My phone displayed the time of 8:00AM. We had risen early and energetic for today’s adventures. The night before we had decided to take a day trip to a nearby natural area. We were debating between Enchanted Rock Natural Area or Guadalupe River State Park. Since we couldn’t make our own minds up, we let a tootsie roll decide. Yes, a tootsie roll. We did not have a coin for a flip at hand, so we improvised. The fate of the tootsie told us to head to Enchanted Rock Natural Area.
With the car packed, we headed in the direction of Fredricksburg, TX, the nearest town to the natural area of our destination. Driving along, my mom and I began doubting the decision to go to Enchanted Rock. Verbally listing the pros and cons of each area, we settled to throw the tootsie roll’s decision aside and reroute to Guadalupe River State Park. That was a perfect display of how my mother and I are always changing our minds. It may frustrate others that we so easily change plans, but I like to look at it as a positive attribute of our personalities. We know how to listen to our gut instinct, and we don’t stress when our plans need a little change.
At Guadalupe River State Park, we settled into the bird blind with our sketch pads and watercolor paints. I painted a rock fountain while cardinals, doves, and other native birds fluttered through my line of vision. I caught the bright reds of a male cardinal as he settled onto the rim of the fountain’s water. Below the miniature waterfall, the cardinal hopped with its head dipping into the small pool of water below the trickling fall. The liquid beaded over the crimson feathers, so the bird fluttered its wings to allow the water to seep to its skin. I imagined the cool water dispatching a tingling sensation throughout the little bird. The same feeling you get when you have a sudden chill where your whole body shakes. You feel such relief with that shake. It’s like you are suddenly shedding the troubles of the world from you. All those problems fall down and away leaving you feeling freer. Finishing our paintings, my mom and I headed for the hiking trails.
Walking on the dirt-pathed trail, I stepped with care as I danced along the trail on my bare feet. Stepping beneath the shade of the hill country trees, the cool dirt sent a cool tingle through my body. A warm comfort shooed away the chill under my skin when I emerged into the sunny rays of the clear, blue sky. Coming to a clearing, we found a nice overhanging with a view of the Guadalupe River. We sat down and pulled our little picnic from our bags. There -- sitting in the warmth of the sun, feeling the crisp breeze, and being with my lovely mommy -- contentment and the purest sense of happiness I have ever known circulated within me. In that moment, I gazed into my mother’s hazel eyes with my own and said, “I love you, Mommy.”
“Saturdays, holidays, easy afternoons, lazy days, sunny days, nothing much to do.”
Our individual creativity is under attack from our hyper-connected, over-scheduled, over-stimulated way of life. Research shows that problem-solving and critical thinking require letting our minds wander where they may.
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