Lucy clearly has her sights set on the goal of learning - you can practically see her holding aloft her lamp of knowledge.
I am a hard taskmistress - can't you tell? They have their backs to the camera, but if you could see their faces, you would see their little freckled brows furrowed in concentration.
But see, I did have a plan in all this spontaneity. I had a grand science experiment planned; I won't give it all away, but it involved magnets and a plastic bag and salad oil and iron filaments extracted from the sandy river bank. It was going to be awesome, until this happened:
Lucy made it most of the way down the ramp (ostensibly chasing Hannah so that she wouldn't fall, guffaw), but gravity caught up with her, and therefore, I had to catch up with her. Unbeknownst to me, our beloved horseshoe magnet (read: experiment lynchpin) migrated out of my purse on my hasty trip down the ramp, and I didn't realize it until some lovely passerby had claimed it for his or her own. Boo. See here, sir or madam, this is what Julia thinks of people who steal:
So, when we finally made it to the river and I realized that my science experiment had gone awry, I was forced to come up with a plan B. So, I took the box of Teddy Grahams (don't judge!) that I had brought for snacktime, gave the bag to my tribe (who claimed they were dying of starvation), and filled the box with sand so that we could perform our science experiment at home. I know...moment of brilliance. I've never been so thankful for Teddy Grahams. And then it was back to the serious business at hand: getting as dirty and wet as possible.
Nose to the grindstone.
After a long meander along the riverbank, we made it back to the car relatively unscathed, and managed to get home in time for lunch (the full box of Teddy Grahams merely whet their palate). But here's the punchline: I reached into my purse to unpack our precious science cargo, picked up the box...and saw a steady trickle of sand running out of one corner. Whoops.
This should have been a bummer of a morning - a lost magnet, an alarming amount of sand in the bottom of my purse, a science experiment temporarily foiled, and a pair of yellow toddler pants that will probably never recover. But really, it was a jewel, and here was the crowning moment: when Lucy found the ziploc bag on the side of the path (missing its magnet), she had a moment of sadness, but then brightened up and started using the bag to gather red and orange leaves to take home. This was huge. Let me tell you, the Lucy of six months ago would have let that pilfered magnet ruin her day. That, my friends, is character development, and it's (one reason) why I signed up for this gig in the first place. And I'll tell you another thing: I needed to see that, and I needed to write about it tonight, because it's been a bummer of an evening, and I've been sitting here letting a handful of little things ruin my day, instead of asking the Lord to open my eyes to everything that He wants me to learn, to everything that He wants me to gather from this and take home. Lucy's not the only student here...and that's (one reason) why I signed up for this gig in the first place.
"Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy."
Psalm 96:12 (NLT)