Seeking Snakes and Solace

Life has been intense around our house lately.

Jack is busy wrapping up his junior year of high school.   There has been plenty of Calculus homework and a huge final project for Biology which involved many hours of research. Plus Jack has been taking a whole slew of advanced placement tests. I remember these delightful AP tests from the Dark Ages when I was in high school   – they are INTENSE!

William is in 2nd grade and he is just DONE. He has worked so hard this year and has made tremendous progress. Will is like Jack. They are math guys. Reading – not so much. But this year was the year reading just “clicked” in Will’s brain.   He has gone from being a kinda-sorta reader to a little guy who reads EVERYTHING. It is such a joy and a delight to hear him read. He reads signs and boxes and labels and books and sermons and computer screens. If there are printed words our littlest reader is reading them to us. But Will needs a break from school and I don’t blame him one bit!

Jason and I are ready for a break too. This school year has meant far – far more juggling than previous years as we have both worked full-time and shared being Will’s full-time educators and I have been dealing with some serious health problems as well.

This year has been a year of compromises and juggling and tagging in and out and letting things go and looking our limitations square in the eye.   There have been more weeds in the flower beds and more Legos on the floor as we have navigated our way through this very strange year.

Last week was busy and hard and intense. We just needed a break. So we did what our family does when we need a break – we headed outside.   We sought the solace of green and nature and God’s creation. We went to Floyds Fork River and explored and what a wonderfully glorious afternoon we had!

Seriously – nature was just showing off on Saturday! We delighted and reveled in it. We gave our Lord thanks for the blessing of all of it!

As we were chatting and chattering along the path to the river we spotted a beautiful deer running across the field right in front of us!   I tried to take her picture – but she didn’t want to stand still for a photo shoot. She was more of an athlete and less of a diva – I guess! But if I could run as elegantly and as effortlessly as she runs – I too would run more often!!!

If you get out your microscope you might just see the deer we spotted!

Once we arrived at the river we moved away from the crowds – further down the river – to a quieter area to do some serious exploring. And what an afternoon of exploring we had.

A massive crawdad!

We found crawdads of all sizes from teeny – tiny little guys to great big lobster-sized guys.

Will bravely allowed this crawdad to pinch his finger!

Will worked and worked and worked until he finally caught a fish in his net all on his own.

He was tremendously persistent and I admired his fierce determination.

Don’t worry – we IMMEDIATELY – returned this sweet little guy to the safely of the water!

Will also had the glorious opportunity to admire an adorable little toad up close.

Will is currently fascinated with frogs and toads and very much wanted to see a toad or frog in its natural habitat. This close encounter of with a toad delighted Will and was the highlight of his day.

And it was a most excellent day for snakes. It was finally hot enough for some snake-y encounters and my oh my did we encounter some snakes!

I saw a baby water snake happily swimming down the river.   William flipped a rock and discovered not one but FOUR snakes hanging out together. We saw snakes many – many snakes.

Jack’s quick reflexes always dazzle me and his patience with both the snake hunting and his little brother are impressive!

There was some plane spotting too!

The black rat snake is laying on that thick dead tree branch and you can see its tail loop hanging below the branch!

Finally as the afternoon turned to evening – we reluctantly decided it was time to head for home. As we walked back up the trail we heard what sounded like a branch falling from a tree – but it wasn’t a branch it was a snake. In fact it was a very – very BIG black rat snake!

I gathered river glass on Saturday afternoon. The McFarland sons collected snakes and crawdads and other cool nature-y stuff – but we are a strictly catch and release kind of family.

The things we took home from the river on Saturday were a bag of river glass (technically trash/litter) – memories – and whole lot of blessings.

We explored. We delighted. We rested. We just were for a while. An afternoon at the river was just what we all needed.

Where do you seek solace when you need a break? Have you been there recently? Can you go this week? Or soon-ish?

We left the river rested – restored – blessed and thankful. I pray you are able to experience these same blessings in your own lives.

You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.

In Christ and with Love –

Pastor Kerri

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