14 March 2016

When the going gets tough

So often when our family goes for a walk, it doesn't work out like we expect. The weather is perfect - either because there's plenty of shade from the hot sun, or we've got out early or late enough in the day (can you tell I'm writing this at the end of a very hot summer?) - and the scenery is stunning.

Get us back to the car fast - what care we for the elvish scenery
that can be found hardly anywhere in the world?
(On Mount Taranaki)

And yet, the children dawdle and complain. How can this be anyone's idea of fun, they wonder?

Then suddenly the terrain changes. Instead of a manicured track, we have a mountain goat path. There are rocks to step over and around, and if this was the USA, I suppose there would be warning signs. In fact, on one of these tracks we walked up this summer on Mount Maunganui, there were warning signs - in fact it was closed. But as I suddenly had an eager mountain goat of a child who had pulled ahead in front of me, so we tackled it.

Good balance, strong feet and ankles and sharp senses are great ways to keep you engaged and safe.

During our Mount walk, we were very quickly at the top, triumphant, with all thoughts of boredom banished.

What we adults find convenient, children seem to find boring... and when things get challenging, they are on fire!

Last month Anna and I went on a trip down to Wellington. We had a wonderful time at the zoo there, especially watching chimpanzees. When their many kilos of fruit and vegetables had been laid out for their dinner, the difference was stark. The older chimps sat there stolidly munching on their carrots. The little ones frolicked and climbed on their awesome jungle gyms, recklessly burning energy and loving every minute of it. I couldn't help but compare them to human adults and children.

We could only watch this through fairly smudgy, scratched glass, so I didn't get photos of it. But in the outdoor enclosure I did snap some of the most loving mother-baby chimp scenes I've ever seen. It seems that when you're a bit tired, cuddling is never boring.

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