Pinch and Punch’s Cousins

Our Will’s 3rd grade class has been learning all about crayfish – because they have their own little herd of classroom-crayfish. Actually – they have 9 totally – gloriously – awesomely amazing crayfish.

The class has named 2 of the crayfish Pinch and Punch. Pinch and Punch are their 2 crayfish with only one claw per crayfish. Apparently – the class can’t tell the other 7 apart well enough to name them . . .

Here are some of the cool things the class has learned about crayfish so far (as shared by Will): Crayfish are nocturnal. Crayfish have 8 legs (at first the class thought they had 10 legs). Crayfish have hard-ish shells. Crayfish molt these shells as they grow.   “Molting” is sort of like snakes shedding their skin. Crayfish will eat one another when they aren’t protected by their hard shells.   (Will was very matter of fact about crayfish cannibalism and did not find it particularly disturbing or off-putting or gross.)

Naturally – we have been learning and hearing a lot about crayfish too.   (We do not hear about crayfish quite as much as we hear about planes – his current interest/passion/single-minded obsession of the moment – but we still hear about crayfish a lot!)

Note – he is holding a fishing net in his right hand and a plane in his left hand!  He is also just barely pretending to be patient with his mom and her camera!?!?!?!

On Friday afternoon William brought home the following essay written ever so carefully in his very best 3rd-grade printing:

“I enjoyed having crayfish in this room and heres why!   First, I think that crayfish are cute.   Second, they can scare me some times.   Next, they are very shy. Last, i’m sureprized that they have not pinched yet.   I’m happy that we got the caryfish, they are amasing!”

(Will earned a 10/10 – an Outstanding and a smiley face for this spectacular essay – just saying!)

Will’s classroom crayfish had his heart longing for a trip to the river where he hoped to find some wild crayfish roaming the shores in their natural habitat.

Our sweet boy asked on Friday evening if – “We could go to the river to look for crayfish – snakes – frogs and fish – this weekend?”

“Yes!” – was our immediate answer – “Yes – we can! Yes – we will go to the river. Yes – we would love to take you on a creature exploration expedition!”

(Jason and I may have high-fived and first-bumped one another and whoo-hooed a few times when Will wasn’t paying attention! Yes – he IS one of US!!!! He not only eats – but loves lentil tacos and he wants to spent his Saturday mucking around in NATURE. The boy is starting to speak fluent McFarland! Next stop is an intriguing ancient language . . . )

Saturday was glorious! It was a perfectly – perfect kind of day for exploring along and even IN the river. So – we prepared and packed for a creature exploration expedition. Waterproof shoes – nets – towels – water bottles – snacks (because Will told us we were going to be there a VERY long time) – a knitting project (mine) – a super-duper nerdy book (Jason’s) – camera – 4 excited McFarlands and 1 incredibly goofy dog.

We were off seeking crawdads – oops – I mean crayfish. (I grew up calling crayfish – crawdads.)   Apparently – crayfish have multiple aliases. They are also known as crawfish – craydids – crawdaddies – crawdads – freshwater lobsters – mountain lobsters – rock lobsters – mudbugs and yabbies!)

Lots of people call them yummy too! Because when I did a little googling – the first thing that popped up was their nutritional information and I am not talking about what to feed your pet crayfish . . .

Anyway – our crayfish expedition was going to be strictly catch – observe and release. All we hoped to do was spend some time visiting with a few crayfish and perhaps convincing them to allow us to take their pictures. We are way more into photo-shooting animals in our family . . .

Will was soooooooo excited and honestly so was I.   I love – Love – LOVE hanging out with my people in nature.   I love exploring and listening and wandering and watching and observing and immersing myself in God’s creation.

Sometimes I observe nature. Sometimes I observe Will observing nature . . . Both delight me and bless me and fill my heart with joy.

We spent hours exploring along the river. Will saw snakes – but opted NOT to catch them this time. Will caught many minnows/fish in his net.   The lad is very persistent.

And then – Will found “Crayfish Cove.” You won’t find it marked on many (okay ANY) maps – but our family won’t be forgetting the location of Crayfish Cove anything soon.   Because our delighted boy netted crayfish after crayfish after crayfish from the shores of this spectacular spot along Floyds Fork River.

Wisely keeping a watchful eye on those pinching – pinch-y – claws!

It was a crayfish bonanza. An abundance and a plentitude!

William was thrilled and so were his oddball parents. Will had been hoping and dreaming and longing for such a moment and it happened. His fishing net was kinda-sorta full of crayfish. Not 153 fish/crayfish like in our Gospel reading for Sunday (John 21:11) – but our Will felt deeply – richly and abundantly blessed all the same.

Will caught crayfish and we ALL admired his haul.

And then – after about the 3,000th crayfish – Will declared that he had caught – observed – and released his crayfish-limit for the day. He was ready for his next adventure.

But before heading home – both Will’s mom and Doug the Dog needed to be taken for a walk around Broadrun Park. Doug and I get antsy and tend to annoy the people around us if we aren’t taken for regular/frequent walks.

Water shoes were exchanged for hiking/walking shoes. (This provided quite a lot of entertainment . . . How many McFarland men does it take to get just one 9-year-old boy and his wet feet into dry socks and shoes? Three!??!?   Especially when the mom doesn’t help and insists on taking pictures of the hilarious process.)

Hilarious!

The sun was shining. Nature was beautiful. Our family was together. The crayfish were intriguing. And the blessings were flowing. This is how our family does sabbath. This is how we set aside time for God and rest and the sacred in our busy – bustling – daily lives.

How do you do sabbath? How do you set aside time for God and rest? How do you make room for the sacred in your daily lives?

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