Wednesday, June 27, 2012

peacocks, salamanders, and grandkids

Al and I took Marcus and Landen to the Catskills for three days this week.  We found a little motel near Belleayre Lake where there's a nice beach and anticipated some fun days in the sun swimming and looking for tadpoles and salamanders.  But right off, plans had to change since the first day there were heavy thunderstorms forecast.  We decided to take our time getting over to Pine Hill and stopped at the Forsythe Nature Center in Kingston on the way.

Perhaps we should have taken a clue from the loud boisterous cry of the peacocks on arrival.  The birds  went into full display - the boys were fascinated.  They also loved the beautiful turtles and tortoises, the baby ducks, the rabbits and the pot bellied pig.  But it was peacock behavior that seemed to predominate over our time away.

Once we settled into our motel and they had a chance to explore their environs they delighted in the grounds and set up camp in the screen house in back.  But they also quickly started competitions that lasted the whole trip: who gets the lawn chair near nana, who gets more green m&ms on their cookie, who can get to the bathroom first, etc. We got through the first day in pretty good shape.

 But the next day deteriorated.  The weather was miserable.  It was rainy, drizzly and chilly.  Couldn't go swimming.  And it wasn't really inviting to go hiking since they'd just get cold and wet and there was no way to dry out all the clothes and shoes.  We hadn't expected ALL the rain - so we didn't take boots and other rain gear.  But we did have nets and containers so decided to go to one pond where we've always had good luck finding salamanders and tadpoles.  We figured we'd get wet, but then come home and dry out.  We lasted about half an hour there - I was only able to catch one salamander for them.  Which they fought over. Most of the day was spent in the motel, playing video games and looking up salamanders, newts, and dinosaurs on my Ipad.
Eastern Salamander

The third day dawned with gorgeous sunny skies - still too chilly for swimming so we decided to pack up and hike a trail that leads to some beautiful little water falls.  The boys were enthusiastic and hoped to find some salamanders along the trail.  But they jockeyed to be the leader, took some tumbles, and couldn't stop vying for favored status in their own peculiar little ways.  Perhaps they were a little homesick, but while they usually get along really well, this trip, they just couldn't stop bickering.  Their sweeter sides were as hidden as the salamanders they so wanted to find.

There were some tender moments - a time when Landen said he wanted to sit next to Marcus because he loved him; a time when Marcus, when asked what the best part of the trip was, said "just all of us being together".

The pictures will show a wonderful time was had by all.  And while I won't romanticize it and say it was all rosy, I hope that what will remain in memory are those funny and tender moments when we really were just happy to be together.

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