A Walk in the Woods

Photo Of Janice. Janice C. Kemp
Copyright 1999 by Janice C. Kemp
Photo property of the author.

One of my most favorite pastimes as a child was to walk in the woods with my grandmother. She would make us hats out of leaves and sticks. She taught us how to ride a pine tree like a horse by pulling over the smaller trees and hoisting us up. I remember seeing fuzzy bugs that granny said were 'thousand leg bugs" and if we opened our mouth and the bug saw us, all of our teeth would fall out! What fun we had!

Now I am a grandmother. My eldest grandson and I went for a walk this past Sunday. I suggested we walk to the creek. He was all for it. It was a wonderful fall day with the temperature just right and the colors of the trees so beautiful. Leaves of yellows, orange, and still some green were as a beautiful portrait that Kyle and I was a part.

As we walked, we saw deer tracks in the soft mud near a very small stream. Kyle insisted it was a doe track as his dad had taught him how to tell the difference. He went on and on about how the tracks look if it is a doe track and how they differ if the tracks are a big buck. He added that his dad could not tell if the track was a fawn male or female.

As we progressed further into the woods, we found some bullets. Oh, Kyle was upset. His papaw and his dad said no one should be hunting on their land out here. I explained they were shells for a small gun and not normally used for hunting. They were from a pistol. I suggested to Kyle that he take a couple of the bullet shells home to show his dad and his papaw. They might need to know that someone has been on their land practice shooting. We also found some shotgun shells and I explained the difference between the bullet shells and the shotgun shells with my limited knowledge of shells and guns.

Most of the time, Kyle, full of young energy, ran ahead. Once he topped a hill so that his view of me was hidden. He called out, "Nana". I replied, "I'm here, Kyle". He was just worried that I was still there because he couldn't see me. I asked him to wait up. I got out of breath pretty quick and began to think about if something were to happen to me out in the woods with only Kyle with me. I asked Kyle what he would do say if I tripped and hit my head and was unconscious. Kyle said, "I would go to my papaws and get him to get his four-wheeler and come after you." I wanted to make sure he would know what to do in case of an emergency.

On the way back I remembered a story my son wrote when he was in the second grade, same age as Kyle. He wrote that he rode in the woods on his Honda Eighty and shot a bear with a gun. He went on to say that he made him a coat out of the bear skin. I told the story to Kyle and he wanted to know if I still had a copy. Of course I do. I promised to bring it to him my next visit.

Kyle is a very hyper and energetic young boy. He is very talkative too. Ha, reminds me of me! He told me that if we had taken the four-wheeler, we could have already been there and back home. I said, "yes, but we probably would have missed the deer tracks, the bullets, and the shotgun shells." I explained that sometimes it is better to walk so you can see small things.

We got to the creek and I was surprised. It had been probably twenty years since I had walked all the way to that creek. In fact, my last trip there had been to take my little girl's brownie troop on a hike there. That little girl is Kyle's mother. The creek seemed to have a much deeper gorge and less water than I remembered. I remembered seeing cat tracks that day, maybe a wild cat. Sometimes, I say words backwards thinking that I am saying them correctly. When I told my husband we had seen cat tracks that day on our hike, I said "track cats" instead of "cat tracks" without realizing it. He asked me three times what I saw before I realized my mistake and we had a good laugh about my "backward words".

Kyle's dog, Mixie, ran along with us. She is a playful lab that carries a ball in her mouth everywhere she goes. While Kyle and I were talking and walking, Mixie would top a hill, let go of her ball and then chase after it. I guess even dogs can find a way to amuse themselves! When we arrived at the creek, Mixie got in and took her a nice little bath as Kyle and I watched her play in the nice cool creek.

What a wonderful walk Kyle and I had. It was especially nice since it was just the two of us and we could talk and bond closer together. I hope Kyle and I can do many things together that will bring fond memories to him as a man of fun time spent with his grandmother.

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