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Monday, 5 January 2009

A nice, gentle walk.

As Autumn has given away to winter the fields around here take on a very different look, not to mention smell as the various foliage gives off that winterly aroma. To my surprise Edward, my 12 year old son, asked if I would take a walk with him last night along the field trail we have walked many times since we moved here. The same trail we walk when we walk our dogs. A gentle walk on a cold and frosty January evening is good not only for the soul but also ones personal health.

He said he had been studying at school how plants, trees etc changed through the seasons and that he wanted to take a first hand look at those changes. Because we knew the paths so well he had decided that that would be the best way to go rather than we two looking for new, different routes to take and new, to us, fields to transverse. While taking this familer walk he could see for himself how nature changes from one season to the next. Autumn to winter he said was probably natures most violent change as the leaves on trees and plants die away to make way for new leaves on trees and plants come spring time.

Suitably enamoured by his enthusiasm with walking stick in hand we set about the walk at 6pm on a wild and windy, but dry, cold winterly Sunday evening. Off we walked down the road to the park area, down the side of where the park is there is a longish field. This field leads to an area free from mans meddling. In other words is it nature at its best. Free to grow as much as it likes and it does.

The whole area of fields is as unencumbered as a field can be so. It is here that my son decided was the best place for what he wanted to see. During our time looking at various flowers, weeds, bushes and trees we also saw some of the lowlifes that make such areas no-go for a lot of people. They did not bother us but the threat was always in my mind. As it turned out they were more interested in their glue or whatever it was that was amusing them than they were us two. Anyway, we carried on doing what we wanted to do as if they where not there. After 3 hours it was by now very dark and very very cold, because there is no lighting in that area very dark it was indeed. My son had the forethought to bring a torch which is how he managed to work in the dark. We also brought with us a digital camera, with flash, and a video camera both of which he used as he moved from patch to patch.

After 3 hours he decided he had seen enough and more importantly he had enough information for the homework he had been set before the Christmas holiday breakup. On returning home we were also very cold as the night air was starting to bite. After getting home he immediately headed for his bedroom, forgoing the hot pot of coffee my wife had made to complete his homework. Very quickly he told me to go away and leave him to it promising to show me it as soon as he was finished. He took the digital camera and the video camera so he had the information with him which he turned into words and pictures via the Open Office suite of programs on his Linux based machine. I know he is my son but the work he produced (which I read as soon as he made it available to me, which was later in the evening just before his bed time) was outstanding for his age group. Time will tell if his teachers agree as the work is to be submitted laater today on his first day back after the holidays. He said he should have his results by Wednesday so he will know what the score is. I can't see him getting any less than 90% but I am not his teacher (at school anyway).

It is nice in this day and age, an age where our youth is often daemonised to the point of total and complete mistrust from those from the older age groups, to see a child of that age actually doing something he plainly enjoys and something that does no harm to anyone. The fact he is plainly taking an interest in his environment is also surely a good thing.

A proud father I surely am.

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