Sunday, February 07, 2010

Seize the Sunshine

Yesterday my fiancé Bernard had the wonderful idea to take advantage of the first sunshine we'd seen in days by taking a trip to Lake Houston State Park, about a 45-minute drive from our house. We invited my parents and brother, who met us there.

I had fun packing our picnic basket before the trip, with 10 little mandarins (for us and for my family), two sandwiches each for me and Bernard, two thermoses with hot tea, and a box of cheese-onion crackers that I brought back from my grandmother's house in Holland.

We arrived at the park and an enthusiastic if somewhat wry woman at the park headquarters gave us maps and detailed instructions of the best paths to walk. We set off across Peach Creek Bridge and around Peach Creek Loop, an interesting trail with varied elevations, a view of the creek along one stretch — and lots of mud. It's been raining here for weeks, something we forgot when we set out on the hike, and so much of the trail was mush. Luckily I was wearing my hiking boots, because in sneakers my feet would have been infiltrated by mud pretty quickly.

My brother traverses Peach Creek Bridge as my dad,
in the background, takes his photo.

We stopped toward the end of our walk so that my dad and brother could pop into the Nature Center while I played with my dog outside, and Bernard and my mother relaxed in rocking chairs in the sunshine on the Nature Center's porch. My dad and brother said it was an excellent Nature Center, like a little museum, but with live snakes.

My mother enjoys the Nature Center rocking chair.

Nema and I play in the field.

At the end of our hike, which took less than two hours, we returned to the car, grabbed the picnic supplies and set ourselves up at a nearby picnic table, where we proceeded with our feast. The hot tea tasted great after the long walk, especially because it was the end of the afternoon and the sun had been replaced with a chilly wind.

During the picnic, we opened the box of crackers from my grandmother's house and shared them, and we toasted to her memory with our thermos teacups.

When Bernard and I invited my family to join us at the park, we didn't think they'd accept, because they had a lot of things to do around the house that day. But after initially demurring, they called back and said they'd decided that since the sun was shining that day, and might not shine tomorrow, they were going to seize the opportunity. As a result, we got to spend time together in nature, we got some exercise, my dog got to visit a new place, and we had a lovely time, despite the mud.

A random kid glances at Bernard on the bridge.

It was a good decision, actually, because the sun did not shine much today.


April said...

It looks like you all had a great time! So glad you were able to enjoy the beautiful sunny day! We need more of those for sure.

Charles Odom said...

Sounds fun! We're intending to start checking out the state parks in our area later this year.

Tara said...

That's a good idea Charlie -- especially when this cold weather finally moves out ... Sammy would love going to the state park!