Potholes and Tide Pools

Today we finished our school lessons early in the morning, so we were delighted to hear the raindrops begin outside our window. It would be a perfect day for a stroll in the rain.

The house that we purchased earlier this year is on a quiet street, in a quiet neighborhood, in a peaceful part of town. It also happens to be across the street from my parents – from the house that I grew up in. So, while it is rare to see a car drive past, the chances of it being a family member or friend are great. And we are enjoying every minute of it.

But back to the rain..

The kids and I have decided that nature walks are going to be a large part of our routine in the coming year. So today seemed like a perfect opportunity to jump in some puddles and feel the rain on our cheeks. We quickly threw on raincoats with our mostly bare feet because it is, after all, August in Oklahoma.  And we set off for a mini adventure in the rain.

Halfway down the street, we did what most folks would do in this situation. We got bored quickly, complained a little, and decided that our cozy house was more appealing.  So we headed back home.. until the five year old spotted the pothole.

This pothole is the same pothole we pass every single time we leave our house, every time we go visit Nana and Pop, and every time we go on our regular nature walks.

Except that this time it was filled with rainwater.

This time it looked completely different to the ones with the mystical ability to see beauty in potholes.

Most people reading this are probably familiar with the state of Oklahoma’s roads. Not to brag too much, but we are kind of famous for them. We complain about them to other Oklahomans, and curse the days that our coffee spills in our laps as we drive on them. The conditions of our roads have been terrible for years, and with the current infrastructure budget, I see no hope for change in the near future.

However, my five year old doesn’t seem to mind today. Her face lit up with wonder this morning as she discovered a tiny ecosystem that  existed in a pothole at the end our driveway.

She immediately called it a tide pool. She’s never seen an actual tide pool. But I don’t think her analysis was too far off.

We even found some nearby moss to add to our tide pool as “coral” and “seaweed”.

Over the last few days, I’ve been talking to my kids about the phrase, “the grass is greener on the other side” in hopes that it would cultivate in them an awareness of the many blessings we already have.

Today, however, after a long time of joyful play in a pothole at the end of my driveway, my kids weren’t the only ones who came away more aware of their blessings.

Yeats may have said it best:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

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