Wildflower Hike 5/28/09

Today I went on the first grade wildflower hike with the first grade from San Francisco Friends School.

Seven Year Old was SOOO excited. Last night before he went to sleep, he grinned repeatedly, and said, "Daddy, Daddy, you're going on the field trip tomorrow!"

I went on the same hike when now-Eleven Year Old was in first grade. That time I had to leave a little early; this time I got to stay the whole time and carpool with another parent and child, which was nice.

The hike was in the Marin Headlands, in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, specifically on the trails above Rodeo Lagoon. I love Rodeo Lagoon, and hadn't been there in either a year or two years.

The day was overcast with fog -- known 'round these parts as the marine layer -- which was thick enough to hide the sun and keep it quite cool but thin enough to let plenty of UV rays through. I got a bit sunburned because I put only a little bit of lotion on.

The best part of the hike came at the beginning. One of the two first grade teachers called the children around him, calmly, quietly, without yelling. They were quiet and rapt as he explained about the trail, where we were going, and just a few guidelines.

Then a few hands went up. "Don't step on plants." "Don't pick the flowers." "Don't touch poison oak." And so on. The children were so quiet and attentive, it was beautiful. The result of practicing learning together as a community with a respect for one another and with an ability to be together in silence. It was truly rewarding to see.

We walked about a mile and a half up the hall, to where some remains of the former military batteries are. On a flat piece of concrete we ate lunch, and the children were instructed to find three types of wildflowers to sketch. The rocks and the ruins were more interesting than the flowers for many of the children.

I was disappointed that we didn't walk back down the hill after lunch in silence, which the teacher had said we would do. Oh, well. I would have liked a brief moment of silence in a circle to close the hike, too, but we didn't. I wasn't one of the people in charge, so I was okay with that.

Overall, I am so glad that I carved out the time from work to go. I enjoyed talking to the other parents, and seeing Seven Year Old in one of his "native environments" outside the home, interacting with his friends. He had a good time, and though he didn't feel the need to stay by my side most of the time, he was really glad I went. So was I!

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