It was a perfect day for an outing – not too hot, not too cold, not too buggy, and with a light breeze blowing – as Jon, Anna, Will, and I set out by foot and stroller for a jaunt on Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge on Friday afternoon, celebrating St Patrick and a day off from work. The island has a gravel road that leads through maritime forest, alongside marshlands, and beyond Ibis Pond. I think there’s an old house there somewhere, but I’ve never made it that far.
Anna and Will alternated rides in our much-loved All Terrain Stroller. We forayed into the marsh, counting periwinkle shells, following deer tracks, trying to peek into fiddler crab “houses” (holes), and discovering a long-lost fiddler crab claw that had been bleached by the sun. The four of us made the loop around Ibis Pond on the easy grass trail (much nicer than the overgrown trail from the last time I was there). The fresh spring green of new leaves graced the trees around the pond, where we greeted coots, grebes, and wood storks. We even spotted a young alligator lazing on the grassy reeds at water’s edge (about 15 feet from us).
Finally we went in search of “my” big tree… a huge old live oak tree that has been losing ground to the river for years. It used to be a special place for me to go by myself to be close to God and nature in my pre-family days. The path was much overgrown, but my tree was there, though it has lost more ground. It hangs out over the sandy beach area that is flooded at high tide by the greedy river. Unfortunately Anna and Will are too little yet to appreciate the climbing adventure of my tree with all its curves and twistyness. But we walked along the beach, sheltered by numerous other stretching oaks that cling to the land as the water would carve it from around them. One tree even had an old rope swing of sorts tied to a branch for us to swing upon.
As we walked back to our van, happily tired and hungry from our explorations, the wind blew us along, refreshing my soul once more. It was a perfect outing for a day.