My 19 month old Minnow is at the stage where she likes to name the things she sees. For some weeks now she’s been particularly into telling me about all the water she notices. “Wa-we!” says she in her sweet little voice. There’s wa-we in the bath, wa-we in the dog’s bowl, wa-we in the toilet, wa-we in her cup, and wa-we in the wading pool (“poo” she says insistently). It was tremendously exciting for her when we had a few days of heavy rain and everytime she’d go outside there’d be wa-we in the air.
As we drive from home to school each morning, Minnow tells me about the lake (“wa-we”) we pass. Then she tells me about the community pool (“wa-we” “poo”). And then a few blocks she says wa-we again. But there’s no obvious water around. There’s a shopping center and a daycare and some apartments. Where is the water she keeps telling me about?
This morning as we made our drive, we passed the lake (really a reservoir), then the pool, and then a few blocks later I stopped to let a Canadian goose cross the road. Minnow got a good view from her carseat and I told her that geese honk. (She loves to imitate animal sounds.)
As my gaze shifted from goose back to road, I happened to notice a blue heron in the middle distance. I was about to point it out to Minnow, when suddenly it struck me.
The heron was sitting on the surface of a stormwater detention pond. The mysterious wa-we that Minnow is always telling me about.
I’m pleased that I’ve identified the mystery wa-we. But I’m saddened that the major outdoor waterbodies that Minnow is growing up nearby are a reservoir, a swimming pool, and a detention pond. Yes, there is a little creek that runs through our neighborhood, but I haven’t explored it yet with Minnow. (I could make excuses here, but I won’t.)
A few months ago, I ordered a copy of Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. My intent was to read it and then blog it, but it has fallen to the bottom of my stack. (I’m currently reading 3 non-textbooks.) But experiences like this morning remind me that even though I spend my days contemplating the natural world, I’m going to need to take a proactive stance in introducing Minnow to the world outside the manicured lawns and antiseptic play areas of suburbia. So just as soon as I finish one of my current crop of books, Last Child in the Woods will be moving to the top of my stack.