On call at the hospital yesterday, I had a beautiful grand scheme: finish rounding on my service first, then afterwards, reward myself with cup of coffee and some breakfast. I was just in the middle of talking to the last patient on my list and trying to decide whether I should get bacon or cheese grits (to be honest, probably both) when then announced a code overhead in the ICU. Ten hours later, I had my first meal of the day, which was a handful of Twizzler nibs crammed into my gaping maw as I waited for the water to heat up for my ramen noodles. I only tell you that because the old adage they tell people in medical school is true. Eat when you can, because you never know when your next meal will be.
Anyway. That was yesterday.
One of the things that I find wonderful about Atlanta (and while my heart will always be in New York I am not immune to the charms of the South) is how much public green space there is everywhere, even within the city proper. Joe and I were trying to figure out what to do with the kids this morning--I'm still on "backup" call today and didn't want to stray too far, but Cal and Mack were acting like one of those nature shows where hatchlings turn on each other and eventually cannibalize the runt. (Unclear who is the runt and who is the Alpha in this equation, I guess if I was interested in finding out I could have just let their youthful exuberance play out to its eventual gruesome conclusion, but I just cleaned the floor last week.)
Anyway, Mack has been talking and talking and talking about going fishing for weeks now, and barring the freedom to go to any actual fishing spots, I pointed out that we did, in fact, have a nature preserve about a block away from our house. To call it a "nature preserve" is, in fact, a little grandiose--it really just amounts to a creek that runs a few miles behind a stretch of residential housing and listlessly spreads into a nearby duck-and-turtle pond--but it's close and there's water in it, so off we went.
There was a sign at the trail head with notations on various animal tracks (Bobcats? Really?) which I was inclined to breeze by, but of which Cal made very careful notation.
When we got to the creek bed, the water level was very, very low--I guess we've been a little minus on rain lately, and what little water there was amounted to a trickle of ankle-deep runoff with a few minnows in it. No matter. A stick with some twine and a pinecone tied to the end was all Mack needed to amuse himself for the next hour.
I think Mack was fully expecting to catch a fish, and I'm just glad that he didn't pitch a fit when his dangling pinecone failed to attract anything more than assorted natural detritus from the creek bed. Cal did a little "fishing" too, but spent most of his time amusing himself by skipping stones on the water and playing with a tire swing that someone had fixed up down near the water's edge. I think it would have been a little more thrilling had the water level actually been higher, but I think he had fun all the same.
Mack, looking admiring, then apprehensive.
So actually, that was pretty fun. What I always tell people about New York is that there's so much to see and so much to do that you'll never get bored, and that much is, of course, true. But to live in the metro area and yet have a nature trail and a creek a three minute walk from our front door? For my kids, I'll take that too.