Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Arbor Adventure (Pic of the Week)

(click to enlarge)

In late September Benjamin’s mommy showed him, and me, that she can climb a tree. Even after 16 years of marriage, she surprises.*

No Crowds HereEvery time we make a getaway to our favorite nearby woods — Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano — I’m at once glad that Benjamin is getting out on the trail and sad that it’s the best we can offer him without driving three hours or more.

That said, within Arbor Hills’ 200 acres we get a small taste of almost everything I love about the outdoors: trails, hills, streams, wildflowers, and waterfalls. When we step off the paved path and hit the trail, we leave 99% of the other people behind.

In a high spot on the back corner, there’s a glade with several large patches of prickly pear cactus. Similar to my childhood home, in that spot I can throw a rock in every direction — except one — and not hit a building. Unlike back home, it happens to be multi-level, multi-family housing, but a quick turn and a short memory fix that.

Bridge BuddiesA negative review of this haven had me shaking my head. The person gave it one out of five stars because her dog got bit by a copperhead during their visit. Although that must have been traumatic, it doesn’t seem quite right to slam a place called “Nature Preserve” because there was — eek! — wildlife there.

Plus, it could have been a rattlesnake. Or one of the bobcats that roam the area.

Drinking DoggieIn all my hours spent in the woods growing up and as an adult, often in places miles from civilization, I’ve felt threatened by a snake only once, and that was near a farm pond known to be infested.

That lady’s dog notwithstanding, Arbor Hills is great because “wild” takes on a completely different meaning than in its visitors’ everyday lives. In the suburbs of the nation’s sixth-largest city, we’re fortunate to have it at all.

The Face     Way Up Now

* Shannon doesn’t like the opening picture of herself because her eyes are “half-closed.”

10 Responses to Arbor Adventure (Pic of the Week)

  1. So why did you use a picture of me you know I don’t like? Huh? Huh??? I loved the one w/o the flash – why couldn’t you have used that one? You’d rather compromise your wife’s feelings than to use a photo that has a few shadows lurking around? I see how you are! Just teasing, but you’re right – I’m not crazy about that photo. It was such a fun family afternoon that I’ll overlook it ……. this time.

    Man, it sure was exhilarating to climb that tree – made me feel like a kid again!

  2. Just for kicks, why don’t you post the other pic of Ben and I posing in the tree and see which one your readers like better? Besides my eyes not being quite as open as I’d like, I think the one you posted is actually too bright. I like the natural light better, even though it does cast a few shadows – wouldn’t you expect there to be shadows up in a tree? Okay, I’m done. Love you, honey! :o)

  3. Shan – I had plans for that photo and, frankly, you’re ruining them.

    But, seriously, my original plan was to make this post a how-to for fill flash photography. Those two pics of you and Benjamin (one with and one without flash) were great examples. But, I went a different direction.

    I still have not ruled out using them for that how-two how-to.

  4. Oops – sorry, babe.

    What’s a “how-two” anyway? ;o)

  5. Now, now, kids. Let’s don’t get in a squabble where everyone can hear..

    I, for one, don’t see any bad pix in the lot.

    It IS too bad that we have to go to nature “preserves” to experience the natural world. Or is that, indeed, the natural world any more? Maybe the natural world is the blacktop and bulldozers and these places where the trees dwell are just quirky little outposts that haven’t yet been developed. Just you wait. Snakes, indeed.

  6. Now, now, Shannon. Don’t be such a pessimist. That also means your eyes are half open, right?

    Those are all great pics, and everybody looks like you’re having a good time. But shouldn’t you and Ben “pose” on the bridge rather than “post” on the bridge, Mark? Just wondering about your choice of captions there.

    Nature rocks! And so do tree-climbing wives!

  7. I think all the pictures look great. I don’t think Mark could take a bad picture of you Shan.

    Mark, are you posting your blog later? I seem to always be a day behind lately! *LOL*

  8. Pops – Good point. I know you probably don’t watch 3D-animated kids’ cartoon movies any more than you must, but Over the Hedge is entertaining and has some things to say about the continuing encroachment of suburbs into woodlands. It’s not all that subtle at times, but it’s still not too preachy. If you get a chance to watch it with a local grandchild, it would be a good excuse.

    Simon – We did, indeed “pose.” I fixed that little mistake. Thanks!

    Tree-climbing wives do rock, and I didn’t know I had one until last weekend!

    Dave – Thanks on the pics.

    I guess the posting difference is that instead of publishing entries at night after I finish them, often I read over it quickly in the morning and then post it before leaving for work (typically about 6:30 a.m. CT to be there by 7). I can schedule the blog software to post automatically at a certain time in the morning. Maybe I’ll start doing that. Say, 6:00 a.m. CT?

  9. Isn’t it cool that we can still learn new things about each other after 16 years?

  10. That’s what I do.
    I write the posts the night before, and tell my software to publish it the next morning at 6am.

    Hope you had a nice weekend.


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