One of my very favorite memories from my childhood is when dad took us salamander fishing. I'm sure it didn't start out as that, but we were all together out on the ranch and we came across this little spring (at least I think it was a spring) that was full of salamanders. Dad got right down in the water and caught them and let us hold them and feel their rubbery skin and I remember being so happy and full of wonder. You know the kind? That giddy excited wonder you can only feel as a kid.
Well Friday morning papa, Clara, and I hopped in the polaris for a drive (and some chores, or it just wouldn't be a ranch) We drove "reeawy fast", used my arm as a seat belt, and had a conversation about nicknames, in which I was informed that Clara's nickname is not Roser, it's Tree... a fact that I was told I could not disclose to her mother. (I was about crying)
We made a detour so Papa could show Clara a waterfall that's running right now. We hiked up to the top with Clara on Papa's shoulders, then made our way down to the pools at the bottom. And guess what we found? Salamanders! Papa hopped in with his boots on and caught one for Clara to see. She wasn't sure she wanted to hold it, but after we told her they were really nice and didn't have teeth she wasn't scared a bit and kept telling us, "salamanders are reeaawy nice".
We hiked back out along the stream and on our way we found a turtle, so I pulled off my boots and hopped in to catch him. We held him and looked and him for a minute, and he even popped his head out after a few minutes to let Clara get a good look. Then we let him back into the water (not that we wouldn't have anyways, but Clara very much insisted) and went on our way. Jay and I have said it a thousand times, but we feel so grateful and lucky to have the ranch, and parents that love our Rory (and will love our other littles too someday) and will take them on adventures that let them feel that wonder.