"'How can I possibly teach my child about nature - why, I don't even know one bird from another!'
I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel.
If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil.
Once the emotions have been aroused - a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love - then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response.
Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know that to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate."
Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
Sunday evening at the river is the perfect time and place to wander and wonder. From week to week we observe changes along the river. Spiky weeds that have blossomed into flowers. Deep rivets where rainwater from the recent storm eroded the hillside. A line of debris along the shore indicating a drop in the water level.
The air is cool and the rocks radiate warmth long after the sun sets behind the canyon walls. I wonder why we didn't start this tradition sooner. I wonder if the kids will remember our Sunday evenings at the river when they grow up. I wonder what I'll make next Sunday for dinner. I wonder what changes we'll observe next week. I wonder why this rock is smiling.
Well, not really. My smile would be set in stone if I spent every day lounging by the river too.