Whenever we go to Lake McConaughy, we stay at a small house owned by my in-laws. It is a cute little house, right near the beach. When we want to go swimming, we walk about 1/4 of a mile (maybe 1/2 mile at the most) down to the water. It's an easy walk--down a hill, through a small field of sunflowers, and across a stretch of sand and stones.
For most people, this walk would take maybe 10-15 minutes, at the most. A lot of people that live in the area don't even bother walking. They drive trucks, golf carts, ATVs, and even tractors so that they don't have to carry towels, chairs, and other beach gear back and forth. I don't have that option. Derek refuses to ride in anything "open," so unless his grandmother brings her truck with her, we walk.
Sometimes, on really hot days, I think it would be nice if Derek would consider riding on the ATV. But most of the time, I don't mind the walk. I know Derek enjoys it. Instead of taking 10-15 minutes to walk down to the lake (or back up to the house), it usually takes us at least 30.
There has been a blog post circling around called What the Dying Want Us To Know About Living. In it, the author addresses what her mother and grandmother both said on their death bed--to slow down. This quote especially, stuck with me:
"My mother and grandmother were telling me loud and clear that as we live our lives, we have to stop running and chasing what we think leads to happiness, and slow down before we rush past the very thing we'll wish we had more of at the very last hours of our days." --Alexandra Rosas
When I read the post, I smiled. It didn't take the death of loved ones to teach me to slow down. All it took was a 5 year old boy who refused to let me put him on an ATV. Since Derek has his own time-table (he can't be hurried), I have never really been in a rush to get down to the beach. If I was in a hurry, I could easily have missed out on something just as enjoyable--the walk down to the beach.
On our walks, I let my son take as long as he wants to. I just enjoy watching him explore. He smells the sunflowers. He looks up at the brilliant blue sky and the white fluffy clouds. He talks to the insects. He drags his feet in the sand and makes footprints. He examines the charred remains of old bonfires. He picks up sticks and pokes at things. Derek doesn't just walk. He walks. He doesn't miss a single thing. And because of him, neither do I...