Things I Said

Today I took Marko to the science center and he spent a good 20 minutes watching this lizard and talking about his eyes, his skin, his claws, his jumpy movements. This is one of my great joys of being a full-time caregiver now...all these little moments where I don't have to rush them on to anything else. I can join them in looking and listening. "Extirpated" was a word I kept saying to myself today because next to the lizard Marko was so enthralled by was a tiger salamander, which used to live in Pennsylvania but no longer does. Extirpation means the local extinction of species. 

Last weekend we went out to the Laurel Highlands. M went on a long trail run. I took the kids on a hike, armed with some Audubon guides and a couple of Clif bars. All they could think about was the Clif bars and we spent the first half an hour looking for a rock or log to sit on and eat the Clif bars. We probably traveled about a quarter of a mile in this amount of time. I was trying to hold them off...keep the Clif bars as bait to get them to return to the car or something. But eventually I caved and they were happy. With the Clif bars eaten they were free from distraction and could focus on finding flowers and caterpillars and poison ivy.

We ran into a trail runner out there and he said wow, you've got little ones here and gave them both high fives. They wanted to be trail runners then and we covered more ground for a little while. 

One of the reasons extirpation is so interesting to me is that we have these Audubon guides and try to identify various species with it. Sometimes we're certain we've found something but it shouldn't be where we found it. But of course our planet is heating up and ecosystems are in constant flux anyway and have been for billions of years, with or without human influence. Balance is not static, it is ebb and flow. When we wander through the Laurel Highlands we come across boulders left behind by glaciers. Rocks that used to be at the bottom of an ocean. What we observe right now is also all sorts of evidence of what is long gone.

Of course, along with this philosophical musing on nature, I also said things like, "please don't smash your crackers with that hammer" and "who drew on the windows with crayons?"

Children are wise and curious but also defiant and destructive.


Anonymous said...

I hope that we will soon be able to extirpate (temporarily) the Frey family from their normal habitat to Charlottesville.

k said...

I think we definitely can come. Trying to work out details around M's work schedule!