Seven Snakes and a Toad!

Spring and summer are my seasons of great joy. I revel and delight in them. I feel like I am just a bit (a whole lot) more alive during these warmer months. It is rarely too hot or too humid for my liking. I will vote to skip the A/C until it is in the 80’s in our house.   (Some of the other McFarlands just LOVE this . . . ) When I hear other folks complaining about the summer heat – my brain and my heart and my soul just can’t relate – because I just plain love it. The heat energizes me.

But this has been a strange spring for me. I lack pep in my step and zip and vim and vigor.

First – I felt yucky because I needed surgery.   Then for a bit – I felt yuckier because I had experienced the joys of not one but two surgeries.

I feel like I am just a bit behind on many things. Except for the reading – I have been doing tons and tons and oodles and oodles of reading. I am NOT behind on my reading!

Much to my daily – hourly – minutely annoyance – I still am in the midst of the healing process. I know this because I get tired much more easily and I walk soooooo slowly on our last walk of the evening.

I joke with Jason that this is foreshadowing of what walking with me will be like every single day in 50 years – to which he always responds with one of his patented “patient smiles.” Being married to me has perfected Jason’s patient smile. (Jason and I have been hanging out together for over 3 decades now – so I am pretty sure he is really thinking – “this would be a nice pace for a 97 year old – but you are not 97 years old yet. So let’s pick up the pace!” But my beloved doesn’t say that – because Jason McFarland is gracious and kind and takes our marriage vows very seriously!)

Anyway – I am making progress. I am picking up the pace. I am back to walking/plodding a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. I have planted some pots of flowers and weeded the front flower beds (please avert your eyes should you wander into our backyard . . . )

And I took Will to the river for an adventure! And what a wonderful adventure we had.

The weather was perfectly perfect. The sun was shining. The skies were blue and dotted with lovely wispy – white clouds. The grass was green.   The wildflowers were blooming – and I had my little guy for company.   Life just doesn’t get much better than this.

As we walked the path to the river – we expressed our shared sorrow and lament for poor Jason and Jack who weren’t able to join us for this truly glorious adventure. Jack was working a shift at the vet clinic. And Jason was working even harder! Jason was digging out the raised garden beds – moving the cement pavers and keeping an eye on Doug the demon dog who has officially demonstrated that he can jump the fence in our backyard . . . SIGH! (Is it any wonder that I am a cat-person? Seriously – the demon dog jumps the stinking fence . . . I understand now why we are Doug’s THIRD family! Doug can be very – Very – VERY hard to like sometimes – but I suppose that is true of most of us . . .)

The river did not disappoint. William and I had a wonderful time together.

Almost as soon as we arrived – Will grabbed a net – flipped a promising looking rock and found 2 adorable baby water snakes! Will caught one with his net and I caught the other WITH MY BARE HANDS LIKE A CRAZY WOMAN! Seriously – I am not kidding or exaggerating or lying – I caught a snake with my hands like Coyote Peterson! I feel like I took my “nature nuttiness” to the next level.

Will looked at me and said – “Wow – Mom – that’s cool. I don’t think I could do that.”

“Yeah . . .” I replied (snake in hand) – “I didn’t think I could do this either!”

Seriously – I caught a snake on purpose – with intention – and was happy about it. Yes – it was very small – but still – I CAUGHT A SNAKE AND IT MADE ME SMILE WITH JOY AND PRIDE!?!?!?!?

It was an awesome day for observing baby snakes. In the end – we met at least 7 baby water snakes.

William and I spent hours exploring and playing up and down the river.

I looked for river glass. I listened to the wind in the trees and the water in the river and the birds singing. I chatted and chattered with my littlest boy. I knit a bit.

I delighted in the beautiful surprises we found along the shore – the perfect purple shell – the wildflowers – lush clumps of wild grasses.

I watched Will play and explore. I could feel his brain growing!

Will is keeping an eye on this crayfish. He was a BIG sucker!

Will found a huge crayfish.

We met a gorgeous toad.

We followed him around for quite a while.

We found a stagnant cove with 1,000s and 1,000s of newly hatched tadpoles.

William explored this stagnant cove and did NOT find the slimy – oozy – gloopy – green stuff that grows there to be to his liking! (I loved this face!)

We spent time together – my little guy and I. We just were for a while and it was glorious!

I felt deeply and abundantly and richly blessed. My cup runneth over! My heart was full. It was a good day. I was thankful.

I kissed his sweet head as we walked to the car to head home to Jason and our zoo and I thanked him for being my boy. I told Will I love him and I am so thankful for all that he is teaching me. After all – this boy – this second son of mine – has taught me to touch snakes!

I am trying to say thank you more often. And not just thank you – but why I am thankful. I find the more I say and feel thankful – the more gratitude I feel. And it is a wonderful feeling.

Why are you thankful today? For whom are you thankful?

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