We had a day in the mountains Monday.  A dear friend from medical school brings her family to the mountains every summer, and drive up to meet them not-quite halfway at a park along Gore Creek.  My kids think of it as “our friends’ creek”; they think it’s ours.  Either way, I’m grateful for the tradition.


It made me realize how little unstructured time we had outside last year.  I had grand plans for walks at the state park and time to play in the St Vrain River near my parents’ house.  But the flood last fall caused the river to change course, and both of our places were closed.

Jonah was accountable for attending his community college class, and that meant we were tied to his schedule. We still managed outside time– riding bikes, sledding and skiing– but it lacked the pull of water-play.  We were going somewhere, even if it was just up and down the hill, and I missed the unstructured nature of creek play.


The little girls made a pine cone pond.  The bigger girls sat in the middle of the ice-cold creek and watched the birds.  The boys built a dam and a swimming hole and forded the creek.  I lifeguarded and sat still as the past weeks’ tension in me unwound.

I am wondering how to fit more unstructured outside time into our lives.  The chickens have helped with that, but part of me is a mountain girl, and I need the hikes and the frigid waters tumbling down from the Continental Divide.


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