Charlie and I headed over the Harriet Alexander Nature center to check out the marsh. The best part about the marsh path at Harriet Alexander is the quiet of it. The bird and frog songs drown out the urban noises and make for a peaceful nature walk. I was having kind of a cranky morning so I was hoping to have some quiet time communing with nature to reset.
When we got to the center, I realized that this was not going to be the case. Two women were there with a group of kids. The kids were fine, but the women seemed to be very into their roles as teachers and camp counselors. They couldn't stop talking loudly while enthusiastically imparting all the wisdom they have about nature on the poor children in their care. My inner crabby pants was activated by the pure delight they were taking in being the experts and by how they couldn't just let everyone experience the place for themselves. I tried to walk quickly by them with Charlie in hopes of getting more quiet as we moved along the path.
It didn't work out. Charlie had something in his sock and sat down on the path to try to get it out. While I was helping him, the group caught up with us. One of the women crouched down and said, “Is he all right? Do you need a first aid kit?” in that chipper voice that showed she was trying to prove how resourceful and friendly she was helping a stranger. I said, “He's fine, thanks,” in a flat voice. I helped Charlie put his sock and shoe back on and tried to move past the group again.
The path along the marsh is cordoned off by wire cords held in tension between wood posts. Charlie was running his hand along the cords as we walked along the path. Earlier, Ms. First Aid Kit was telling the children how a kid in another group had cut his hands on the cords and that they shouldn't touch them. When her partner saw Charlie walking with his hand on the cord she made sure to say to us, “You know, you should be careful, those wires have splinters and you could cut your hands.” I said nothing. We've been to Harriet Alexander many times and the kids walk holding the cords all the time because it's fun and minor risks are not a reason to not experience cool things. And why do some people have to RUIN EVERYTHING?
We walked ahead of the group finally getting enough space to enjoy the marsh sounds and take some pictures. The group turned back after lingering at a sitting area and Charlie and I walked on finally able to enjoy the solitude. The whole time Charlie was holding the wires and cheerfully muttering to himself, “You can cut your hands on the wire!” He was enjoying himself touching the wires and stating the warning and doing it anyway. At the end of our walk Charlie said, “Hey Mom, I cut my hand on the wire.” I rolled my eyes and said, “Oh Charlie, you're just saying that because of that silly thing that woman said.” Then I looked at his hand and saw two tiny cuts on his fingers. I laughed at myself, the old crank, and when we got back to the car, I got an antiseptic wipe and some bandaids out of our first aid kit. The nature walk certainly did its job to lighten my mood, although not in the way I expected.