November 30, 2022
Oh, how I love the crispness of the Fall weather. Darkness arrives early for our classes now. The sun sets at 4:25 and the kids arrive at 4:30. We get to experience the lovely pinks, purples and oranges of the western sky. Chillier temperatures come earlier as well. So much is happens in such a short time period of time.
As the Seedlings climb out of their cars full of excitement I check in and ask, “gloves, flashlight?” For those who arrive with no gloves I have a few extra sets to keep their little fingers warm. The flashlights are another story. They come with big flashlights, small flashlights, some with batteries that are just about worn out and headlights too. Some kids also like to unscrew the lights and then the batteries pop out. As of today, I am still not sure which light is the best for young children.
Inevitably each hike ends with, “Miss Sue I lost my flashlight or I can’t find my glove.” Lost things, are a common occurrence in general but finding things lost in the dark is a challenge. This year I am working on my flashlight and glove loss prevention technique, so we don’t have to backtrack or I don’t have to go back out the next day to scramble through the fallen leaves. When you add a water bottle to that it becomes a triplex of possibilities.
Recently, one of my kids dropped his flashlight in the leaves four separate times! “Miss Sue my flashlight is gone,” became a common shout out. He would proudly stash his flashlight in the diagonal pocket on the chest of his jacket. He didn’t realize each time he bent over it would slide out of his pocket and onto the ground. Patiently I would go back and look for it. This time I was four for four! I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out the many other scenarios of lost flashlights I’ve experienced.
Gloves, well they are another story. The removal of gloves at any time invites loss and trying to find those little finger coverings is a challenge, especially in the dark. They could be anywhere, even hidden in the child’s pocket. Remember the way people used to have mittens with strings that fed through the coat sleeves and around the back so they wouldn’t get lost? There are also those great glove clips. Genius. But I guess as you get older it’s not so cool to use them.
This is certainly not a complaint on my part, just a rambling about my evenings on the trail with the little kiddos! Asking a six-year-old to keep track of a flashlight, water bottle and gloves is a heap of responsibility. Perhaps starting this learning challenge at a young age will make them pro’s at keeping track of their possessions.
I’m not sure I have a good solution for these issues but I will keep on trying to come up with some techniques to returning with everything we left with. If you have any good solutions, please send them along.