One of the things I love about living here is there’s no shortage of stuff to do. We spend a lot of our free time taking advantage of all things urban, but there are plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. This year we decided to celebrate the new year by taking a hike through the NCR trail, former railroad beds that are now protected as public space.
It’s been pretty cold the past few weeks so we bundled up, wrangled the dogs into the car and headed out early. Oscar and Harley spent nearly the entire drive with their faces pressed to the windows, whining in anticipation – it had been quite a while, but they clearly remembered the fun they’d had on previous outings. Within minutes of hitting the trail T grabbed a walking stick, knowing by some instinct how to use it. He was quiet for a stretch, uncharacteristic for him, and I looked down to make sure he was okay. “What’s up peanut?” He was looking off the path, down to the creek, and turned back to me cupping his ear. “Ere?”
I should mention that I’ve been showing him signs since he was about three months old. He can hear (at least when he chooses to) and I’m no teacher, but I decided before I even got pregnant that I was going to try it. For months I showed him signs while saying the word out loud and finally, finally, a day came last summer when he signed “more.” As in, “I loved that watermelon you gave me and now I want MORE!” And he used that one sign for a long time, before finally mastering a few others. Not that lack of sign language skills kept him from communicating – that kid wakes up talking to himself and goes to bed the same way.But this day was different. We walked for nearly two hours, stopping to watch wildlife, crunch snow, and scale the stone embankment. T motioned that he heard something and then, if he knew what it was, signed the word. He pulled out signs for animals I never realized he’d learned, making their sounds out loud. And not just signs – words flowed out of him like we’d been having these chats forever. Stick, snow, dog, tree, water, daddy, outside, walk, jump, tired, hungry. Maybe T sensed the magic of it being a new year to leap head first into bold new territory. We had a great morning, my son and I, and I look forward to many more walks down that path.
Do you have plans to work on a new skill or achieve a goal this year?