We must make the most of our favorite season, walks and rides, fast and furious, before the last leaf falls. We park in Bown Crossing near Brenna’s school for an evening walk along the river before sitting to dinner and perhaps a treat.
“We’re eating at a restaurant afterwards,” we said to persuade him, playing what’s usually the trump card. But Hunter still refused to join us for a short walk through the Wood Duck Island preserve. I guess we’ve lost him to teenager-ness. We’ll check back in five years.
So it’s just Jess, Brenna and I following the familiar path along the river opposite Harris Ranch as daylight fades.
“Those look like eggs,” I tell Brenna, pointing to three white shapes in the grass along the trail. Soon we find several more scattered around as if for an Easter Egg hunt but uncolored, uncooked and months early — the mystery for the day.
I was warned the large limb of our favorite posing and climbing tree had been removed but I’m still surprising to see it in person. I guess health sometimes requires leaving a part of ourselves behind.
“Are we allowed to go this way?” Brenna wonders when we have to step over strands of barbed wire.
“No,” I answer as we continue threading our way through a tangle of branches toward the grassy clearing we know deer and heron call home.
“I do that too,” I say trying to comfort Brenna when she realizes she’s climbed higher than she likes. “Want me to come up to you?”
I look up but don’t see any blue heron home today.
A funny plant grows back here that I don’t see elsewhere. Once dry, it makes an epic sceptre. “You just hit me in the face. Pay attention to where you’re swinging that.”
Life is fleeting among these weak woods but less so than our own.
“I’ve never noticed berries on a plant like that,” I observe.
“Me neither,” Brenna acknowledges, reaching to investigate.
“It’s like ‘weird’ but without the ‘d’,” I explain. “It’s even spelled the same.”
“Alright,” Brenna concedes. She wasn’t sure she wanted to walk as far as the weir. She suddenly developed an inclination to return home after learning Hunter was there with her new guinea pig, Nibbles.
She wouldn’t say which Bown Crossing restaurant she preferred until we made a choice. Then Brenna decided she wanted something else. “It isn’t nice to be stubborn like that,” we explain.
As darkness falls, we make our way on foot to the Flatbread Pizzeria where Brenna foregoes our Capricciosa for some Mac & Cheese.
Brenna wins the negotiation over cotton candy at Powell’s. I’d never seen a cotton candy vending machine so I peer through the window with Brenna to see it spun within.
“This will be her whole life,” I comment to Jessica. “These walks along the river, stopping in at the candy shop …” I’m pleased to think this is all she’s known and hope pleasant autumn evenings remain the measure of her life.