Late Mother’s Day afternoon, we headed back out on a top-priority recovery mission at the park — operation “find the rocket.”
The kid had sticks for pushing briars out of the way, my husband had scientifically watched the rocket video to pinpoint the most likely location, and I had my camera. Because although I did have serious doubts about finding the wayward rocket, I will go along with anything that gives me an excuse to tromp around the woods and look for pictures.
So, we headed off, into terrain that mostly looked like this.
I issued the routine snake caution “Make noise so you don’t surprise them.” (My husband noted that if that were the safety criteria, our children were in no danger whatsoever), urged them to stay together, and then, we plunged into the woods and split off to look for the rocket.
Well, my husband looked for the rocket. The kids mostly waved sticks around and tromped about.
I found other things. A butterfly poised on a thistle.
A pollen-dusted bee, looking for nectar in the Indian blankets.
A caterpillar so fuzzy he looked like an alien crawling across a the mesquite-bark planet.
And red berries that looked boring at eye-level, but when I laid on the ground and took their picture from below, glowed from the sunlight.
I also found bleached-out deer bones, and pocketed a vertebrae for my son. Along the trail, I met a family on a hike who asked if I would take their picture for Mother’s Day. I heard my children laughing, caught flashes of their bright shirts through the briars, and thought “this might be the perfect way to spend Mother’s Day afternoon.”
Then, as it was starting to get dusky, I heard my husband calling. “It’s found!” — not “I found it,” although he had. And instead of brandishing it in victory, he waited until we all found each other through a game of “follow my voice,” so we could see it, tangled in a thicket, but still in one piece, and ready to launch again.
I hope the wind sends it back into the woods.