And just like that, things changed. Spring has turned to Summer and, unexpectedly, I’m not ready. Somedays I see myself as a wild animal- I despise having to share space with people outdoors and feel the urge to move my pack as far away from them as possible (and yet, I have a blog encouraging people to go outside? Go ahead and laugh). I’m like, hey go outside, but go over there, like, away from me.
I’ve become unrealistically territorial the last few weeks over a place I like to get my outdoor fix when I can’t drive too far. After showing up there last weekend, to do a bit of bass fishing with my daughter, I saw how many cars were piled up in a parking lot my soul was used to being empty through the winter months; I felt a deep, unrealistic, anger. As we came around the corner to park, my daughter and I looked at each other as if we were in mourning, as if we were the gatekeepers and no one asked to come in. Wait, why are so many people out here? What happened to the fear of the outdoors? I immediately regret encouraging people to get into nature. 😉
It was only a couple of weeks ago when I politely snickered under my breath as the rain started to fall at the same beach. We were on our way to fish, and all the other families were scurrying for cover, looking at my husband and I like we were strange (?why?). My daughter smiled, and with pride said, “You can’t be afraid of the rain if you’re a Barnhart”. I high-fived her and said, “Amen, sister”. The busy park became a place of solitude, and like wild animals coming out in the rain, we did our lake-side routine of fishing and searching for treasures without interruption.
The kids thought they found a dead baby cougar, and my daughter insisted on wearing her pink jacket for the day 😉
But one of my favorite rain-filled spring days there was a month ago. I picked my kids up early from school because I didn’t want a timeline for when we had to be home, and after a busy week, I missed them. The rain was trickling, but the clouds looked weak to me. I drove down to the docks and parked while the kids ate a snack in the car. We visited about our days and made assumptions about the men quickly loading their boats. Once the rain eased up, we hunted for rocks for our fairy houses and I threw a wooly bugger around off the docks. The wind picked up and the rain hit hard again so my kids ran for cover. So there I was, still in my workout clothes from earlier, standing on a dock in a wind storm, and thought to myself, “Is this when I leave? I look a bit insane, but I’m really not going to leave, am I?” I stayed. The kids were playing “lost boat in a storm” in the car. The rain let up right when I caught this big fat sucker fish. haha.
I literally laughed out loud, those things can fight! I looked closer and noticed they were spawning near shore. The rain let up a bit more and the kids ran over to see my catch. I grabbed their fishing poles from the car and they each took turns catching huge sucker fish. One after the other- huge, strong, big suckers. The commentary was hilarious as my daughter was coaching my son how to reel it in and how to back up. We may have snagged the biggest one…..but it lived. (I know its annoying you we did not kill them).
My kids thought it was the coolest moment of fishing they had ever had, which is sad because they have had some pretty great moments with a fly rod and trout. I probably won’t tell them what sucker fish really are until they are past the teenage years. 😉 I was cracking up though because most fly fishing gals have all of these amazing selfies with gorgeous trout, and there I was in my yoga pants, wet from the rain, with an off-kilter picture of me holding a nasty sucker fish. But did we have an audience? No. Did we have the entire beach to ourselves? Oh yes. Was I laughing? You bet!
But here we are now, faced with all of America cramping my style and my places. I forgot when the heat came out, so did the people who wanted to use
my the lake to cool off. With the loud boats zooming by, the cigarette smoke lingering, and the garbage starting to fill the banks, I can’t do it. So I must retreat back to the rivers, do the long drives, and hope to find a mountain lake chalked full of sucker fish, for my little fear-less school ditchers. Also, I’ve become sort of an expert at catching sucker fish; I’m thinking about guiding for them soon. Awkward Mama Adventures, indeed.
- Oh and please take your kids outdoors this summer, even if you have to go to my places. If you have kids with you, you get a free pass. 😉 Kids need to learn about the wild so they don’t put Bison in their cars or try to take selfies next to grizzly bears…Kids need to be muddy and exhausted by the end of the summer days, just saying.