Exploring with Grandchildren

Yesterday I took three of my grandchildren for a walk through the woods out at St. John’s University. It was a beautiful day and every time we passed other walkers, this truth was reiterated. The kids handled the walk well. But my grandmotherly self was always putting on the breaks to their adventures. I didn’t always express my concerns. Sometimes I chose to stifle and let them explore.

Jack liked climbing trees that had been fallen by storms or rot. While he never fell, he did manage to get stuck but brother Charlie rescued him.

Ana liked picking colorful leaves which I approved but warned her about possible poison ivy. She did break out in a rash at one point. I had visions of a massive allergic reaction and regretted not bringing Benadryl with me. I had a dangerous allergy reaction a few years ago while exploring the mountains of Arizona. If not for the Benadryl on hand by the people leading the expedition, I would have died. I washed Ana’s rash with the water I had brought along and it was gone by the time we returned to the car.

Charlie’s sense of adventure stirred a stronger response from Grandma. He looked into the deep gullies below our path and begged to go down there. With all the leaves on the ground it was impossible to see what lay on the bottom. If anything happened, I thought, I would not be able to help him with my aging knees. He handled my resistance respectfully.

At trails end, we visited the stick houses that were erected at St. John’s three years ago. A friend told me that the piece of art will be burned down this winter. I drive onto the campus once a week and in the time the structure has been there, I have never driven by without seeing a few cars parked nearby. It is  an irresistible structure that demands exploring. If you are in the area of Collegeville, MN, take a look. The structure is called “Lean on Me” and is located on the road that takes you onto the campus from I-94 on a half mile from the highway.

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3 Responses to Exploring with Grandchildren

  1. Alissa Jeub says:

    Awww Grandma <3 love reading your writing 😀

  2. Chris Jeub says:

    That really is a cool structure. We saw this when traveling through the family last time. Here’s a picture of LEAN ON ME: http://www.mnprivatecolleges.org/sites/default/files/images/news/Stickwork-SJU-2012.jpg

    • Judy says:

      Your picture was taken early on while the sticks were still pretty fresh. Now they are grey and dry. It was known from the start that it would have to be burned down after 3 years. As it gets more brittle, the danger of it falling on someone increases. What is interesting is that now the houses are leaning away from one another. Symbolic?
      The kids said they want to be there when it is fired up. If we can, we will.

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