Sunday, June 2, 2013

Field Trip

We went on a field trip with our grandson Xander and his pre-K class. There were eight adults and eight five-year-olds – just about the right number, the perfect balance. We went to hunt bugs in the woods. We found lots of ants and a few other things, but mostly we found dirt and leaves and stumps where part of the forest was clear cut. So it goes. We still had a wonderful time, riding on the bus forty minutes to and back, with an hour and a half in the woods and snacking on the lake. Three things struck me. The first is the realization that, every time I get homesick for Holland (which is just about hourly), I can travel on the back way from Kalispell to Lakeside and encounter three rather large and well engineered roundabouts. They remind me of one that we encountered somewhere near Giethorn years ago, a roundabout right in the middle of the countryside with absolutely nothing around it, not even a road crossing the intersection. It was a simple left turn complicated by the compulsory entrance into the circular path. I think it was built just to slow people down in the middle of nowhere. Second: On the return trip, Xander started chatting with the boy in front of him in very animated fashion. They weren’t talking about bugs or the weather or the swollen Flathead River as we crossed it. They were talking about the latest version of Super Mario Brothers videogames on their respective X-boxes. I thought I was watching them battling withdrawal. Just saying . . . Third: We shared the return bus with a class of 4th graders. Their teacher had brought along a great project that combined science and art. Each kid places an arrangement of leaves on a piece of photosensitive paper. When the sun hit the paper it created a negative image – sort of like the Shroud of Turin, except with plant life – on the paper, suitable for framing. To us fellow oldsters, the teacher observed that, before the class set out, she wondered how many of these kids born in the digital age would even know what a photographic negative is. The answer, she learned, was zero. So this is my first blog for the month of June; I missed the entire Month of May. That was a busy month spent scrambling, writing, playing with Xander, and dodging raindrops. By six pm every night I just want to have a peaceful dinner with my bride and then spend the rest of the evening vegging out with our Netflix for the day or something on PBS, holding hands. Yes, we still do that – yes, we’re still nauseating.

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