I gave my two youngest grandchildren a coupon a year ago that promised them each an adventure designed and directed by them. They are holding my feet to the fire still, here a year later, when Christmas is over and the promise still holds.
These kids go on wonderful adventures more than most people do in a lifetime. They live in a lively urban environment with two parents who love going to things. They have taken the children to the mountains and to the sky, to foreign lands and to extraordinary rides in exciting amusement parks. They have been to the ballet, the orchestra, the theatre, the zoo often, and the aquarium often; to the big league games, to the little league championships, Hiking and biking are regular for these extremely fortunate children and they are now adventuring themselves into making music, making art, making inventions, and will surely be as well-supplied with data and experience as any child could be!
What in the world can I do to enhance such well-traveled children?
I will take them on an investigation of the Small, I have decided.
There is a still unfulfilled promise I made to my second oldest grandson who is now 28. And it’s well past time I fulfill that contract which failed the first time when he was about 7 or 8, I believe. We visited the Catholic Cathedral downtown to see what was inside (his idea) and particularly wished to find out about those bells that ring way up on top. We were told the bell man was not available that day, but that we could make an appointment to visit when he was there.
Now is as good a time as ever to take these promisees on a Small and Tall adventure, I think. It may involve getting parental consent for the younger ones. From what the receptionist told me, it involves ladders up into the belfrey!
How many children have been up to a belfrey in a big city Cathedral? I reckon that is a small, unsung sort of adventure that is not on the normal tourist list.
Between us, we have also played with the idea of taking a ferry ride to one of the Puget Sound islands we have never been to. Maybe as foot passengers, requiring us to hike onto the island once we get there and find out what we can discover that doesn’t require going very far…but instead deep..into new territory to see things slowly, and closely.
Thinking back at my own favorite small explorations…hours spent on my stomach at a neighborhood lake watching what is happening just in the shallows… waterbugs, tadpoles, rivulets that can be dammed up to make water flow in a different direction! Of on the bay side of the ocean where holes in the sand squirt occasionally, and where crabs have a very busy life scampering around the reedy shallows. Or by a decaying tree where ants have a whole universe and where the wood smells a certain way, and crumbles into fine dust. Not all ants act the same. And they have specialized jobs.
Small adventures can be made with a telescope or even better a microscope, and even better than that a high powered microscope that shows a very active reality that is not noticed by the naked eye.
There is a small zoo near where I live. It has cheetahs in a large enclosure where they can run fast to catch their food. And a couple of pairs of Siberian Tigers who are magnificent and very happy to hang around and take a bath for viewers, and the keepers bring treats that they push through the high fence at a level that requires these amazing beasts to stretch to their longest range, right up against the fence where you can see how really LARGE they are. It’s a quiet little zoo where you can get intimate information, and stay a while rather than rushing through to see the next thing.
I must gear up and gather my explorers and take a nice healthy chunk of unhurried time to “turn over the stones and see what’s under them.”
The kids keep reminding me, as I have asked them to. Soon! Before it’s too late!
New Year’s Resolution time!