Walking on Logs

Across from our house there’s a drainage basin that ends up feeding the Rouge River. There’s also a bit of wooded area around that. Over the past week there has been a lot of noise from the other side of the basin and sadly a good portion of the trees have been cut down. The kids and I were curious about what was going on and decided to investigate.

Usually when we want to cross the stream into the wooded area it’s just a matter of finding some rocks to step on or getting wet up to our ankles if we slip. This time, however, the water level was much higher and very murky. I figured we’d walk a little more along the water and then head home without seeing what was on the other side, (the other bank was now a good six feet higher I’m guessing due to bulldozers pushing excess dirt there as they flatten the land beyond—probably also causing the murkiness). But then we came across a log spanning the water and for some reason pointed it out. The kids immediately got the idea that we should walk across it.

Now I wasn’t too keen about us walking across some dead tree trunk over this mud and water concoction so came up with some excuses: it’s almost bath time, the log isn’t that sturdy, etc. The kids weren’t too interested in excuses, though, so I picked up a long branch lying on the ground, walked a little out, and stuck it down as far as it would go, (almost losing my balance as it went further than I expected—about four feet). The kids still weren’t swayed.

OK, finally, why not? I’m here to supervise and this could be a good empowerment moment. As Ann so eloquently stated: “I didn’t take all those years of gymnastics for nothin’…” (And here I thought she wanted to take gymnastics to prepare for being on a cheer team!)

William went first while Ann directed him to clear out various cobwebs along the path. (While walking on some tree trunk of questionable strength over opaque water seems to be no big deal to her, the threat of encountering spiders along the way seems to be one—go figure.) William ended up basically sitting on the log and sliding across as much as someone can “slide” on a tree trunk with bark and all. Ann went next walking the whole way batting branches from still living trees out of her way and basically making it look easy. Now it was my turn. Oh, well, here goes nothing…I emptied my pockets just in case.

We all made it to the other side without incident, worked our way up the now steep bank and, well, the sight was pretty bleak. They’re preparing to build something for sure, but right now it looks like a landfill with unearthed tires and other garbage scattered about. The kids wanted to go down and walk around, but this time I didn’t allow it. So they amused themselves by picking up chunks of dirt and throwing them down the hill.

Finally it’s time to head back. William again opts to go first, assumes his “sliding” position, and promptly manages to drop one of his shoes in the water. At least it floats and there’s not much current this close to the bank to pull it downstream. He slides back a little so I can go over him then I straddle the log to get closer to the water while Ann finds and hands me a stick to go shoe fishing. A few attempts later and with a second (chop) stick, we managed to capture and return a (somewhat wet and I’m thinking totally gross) shoe. I crawl across this time as William insisted that I “just go” and moving from straddle to standing would have probably dunked me. Next William does his “slide” across while Ann walks the whole way like it’s nothing. The latter is this picture.

We make it home for showers while I make sure that William scrubs his feet very well and later disinfect his shoes.

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