I remember being about Daniel's age and lying in bed thinking about growing up. It must have been summer because I remember the window was open and I could feel a breeze and hear the buzz of whatever bugs were out at night. I thought about how I would soon be in the double digits and not long after that would be high school and then I would be out of the house, and the enormity of that reality was almost too much to bear. What if I didn't know what to do? What if I didn't know how to write a check or run the washing machine? (These were real, actual fears of mine.)
Daniel is 8 (going on 30, it seems some days) and we're about to reach that turning point where he'd rather spend most of his time with friends than with us. It's so funny how one moment he can be so wise, like when he released a Painted Lady butterfly from his bug cage into the flowers in our front yard and said, "It's even more beautiful when it's free!" and the next moment take videos of his best friend burping and pretending to get into a kung fu match with a plush shark toy.
We spent the morning at Pope Farm Park, an absolutely splendid conservancy and restoration area just west of town. Our friends who came with us on the trip to Niagara Falls joined us. The day started out cloudy and downright chilly, but the sun came out just as we got started, and it was more or less a perfect morning for a picnic and trail walk, hiding in the (somewhat meagre) sunflowers, and catching a leopard frog.