Around Atlanta: Buck Moon

Yours truly is mired in the midst of many almost-but-not-quite-finished posts and a site redesign (Stay tuned. I have no idea when we’ll have that done). Throw in the house projects and homeschooling and you’ve got a recipe for insanity. In other words, please excuse the sporadic posts.

Since there’s no better way to cure the insanity than to get out of dodge, last night we bailed on Suburban Golf Course Hell (SGCH) for a little R&R. Yesterday also happened to be an anniversary of sorts for us and getting out to do what we love was definitely in order.

The good folks at Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center were having one of their moonlight hikes and we thought it an appropriately granola thing to do. And you’d think that with a 7:30 start time, it’d be a pleasant walk in the woods. But, alas, this is Georgia in July which basically means you just drip if you’re outside, no matter what time of day. If you’re not familiar with the south in summer, just put a sopping wet blanket in the microwave for a few minutes, then drape it over yourself and you’ll get the idea.

Not being ones to miss a cool opportunity because of weather (Exhibit A, Exhibit B), we headed out to see what kind of things we could discover on the trails. The gist behind this hike was the Buck Moon, a reference to Native American lore, when the bucks begin rubbing their fuzzy antlers on the trees. I don’t have much in the way of pictures to share since it was a large group and the light was shifting towards darkness. I couldn’t be setting my tripod up for long exposures and still keep up with our fellow Monday night adventurers. And since our external flash seems to have fallen victim to my klutziness and the body flash wasn’t cutting it, I was just out of luck.

George and the Blackberry
Don't let his "Allergic Shiners" fool you, George had a great time eating blackberries and dog fennel.

Our leader for the evening was the ever-fabulous Ms. Christine who we know from the homeschool classes GEHC offers. She’s very granola and very, very knowledgeable. She showed us all sorts of plants that I would have just walked by if we were exploring on our own. We were particularly taken with the wild blackberries and dog fennel. All sorts of yum. We now also know how to spot wild ginger thanks to Ms. Christine. She passed around animal skulls and threw in some history for good measure which rounds out the whole story of the area. The geek in me loves having an expanded view of the place we call home.

So Camp Granola scored some increased knowledge and some quality forest frolicking on a Monday that would have otherwise been unremarkable. Plus, being an evening event, even Jester got to come along after a long day of geeking it up at work. The best part of the night though was that Fred and George were totally into it. They were all over the idea of edible wild plants and wilderness survival. Fred was so stoked he actually tried the dog fennel. Yes, you read that right, something green crossed Fred’s lips….willingly! Ok, he hated it but the point is that Mr. Asperger actually tried it of his own accord.

At any rate, we began the hike frazzled and tense but ended it content and relaxed…and quite tired. For the boys in particular, the exercise and mental engagement away from the distractions of home improves their focus. Add in the forest setting and I get that focus at a level I can’t dream of in our suburban environment. Get them outside and they turn on. It’s these times that we all have the most fun together because we’ve all checked our baggage so-to-speak.

After a rejuvenating outing like this, I try not to let coming home to the McMansion Grind harsh my granola buzz. It is quite a struggle though to balance what we have to accomplish right now (the work of getting the house on the market) with the need to get out and play (ie we mentally checked out a long time ago). So we’re chained to the house for the moment on what feels like an extremely short leash but we’re trying very hard to make lemonade since we indeed bought the lemons. (That, my friends, is a head-on collision of cliched metaphors if I’ve ever seen one.)

The question is then, what should our next outing be to stay close to home and still be our granola-treehugging-exploring selves? Leave me some suggestions so I don’t lose my mind here in SGCH.

And now for your moment of green…

Wildflower Field
Happy field of wildflowers to brighten your day.