School starts up again for me tomorrow.  Wow!  I really can’t believe that.

With that said, it explains why I have been trying desparately to check too many things off of a day’s list lately.  A hike here, a visit there, a book read and a house cleaned.

While visiting the library, I stumbled upon a sweet treat: Pioneer Naturalists: The Discovery and Naming of North American Pla... is just captivating.  I have learned so much and confirmed or denied many a “fact” that I had learned along the way.  Well worth checking out.

Found a wonderful quote that may describe why our youngest child is so simply captivated upon “discovering” something for the first time.

“Rafinesque left behind an expression of his own philosophy that will do for that of many a naturalist.

“A life of travels and exertions has its pleasures and its pains, its sudden delights and deep joys mixt with dangers, trials, difficulties and troubles.  Mosquitoes and flies often annoy you or suck your blood.  Ants crawl on you whenever you rest on the ground, wasps will assail you like flurries.  You may be overtaken by a storm, the trees fall around you, the thunder roars and strikes before you.  You may fall sick on the road and become helpless.  Yet many fair days and fair roads are met with a clear sky or a bracing breeze inspires delight and ease, you breathe the pure air of the country, every rill and brook offers a draught of limpid fluid.

Every step taken into fields, groves, and hills appears to afford new enjoyments.  Here is an old aquaintance seen again, there is a novelty, a rare plant, perhaps a new one! greets your view: you hasten to pluck it, examine it, admire, and put it in your book.  Then you walk on thinking what it might be, or may be made by you hereafter.  You feel an exultation, you are a conqueror, you made a conquest over Nature, you are going to add a new object, or a page to science.”

Much exploring and discovering happened with the Donahues this summer.  Not all days were magical.  Some days, Dad Donahue was just a tired stinker.  Some days we lost our plans or the car broke down.  Some days, everybody broke down.  But when I look back upon this special time I had with my family, I am not likely to recall those overheated days or the blood-thirsty mosquitos. 

I figure I will remember the excitement in my childrens’ eyes,  their sense of wonder and magic that could only happen in the nature spaces that we visited this summer.  I will remember catching fish and learning why will ALWAYS bend the barbs down on the hooks from here on out.  I will remember their laughs, their expression of accomplishment when they walked across so many wonderful rivers.  I will remember how they rowed me out to “Toad Island” all by themselves.

This is family-time.  This is accomplishment.  This is parenting.  This is love.

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