While vacationing in the Georgia mountains we stayed at "River Dwelling" on the Toccoa river. On the third day some of the grandchildren were getting restless. I decided to take some of them for a walk. (Upon renting this place I believed that the children would be playing in the river. As luck would have it the river was high this year. Duane said that pools formed by rocks in the river would be good for the children to play and be easily guarded by adults. All these rocks were underwater.) Those that wanted to go were: Sarah, Nathan (both Duane V"s children) and Erin (Kelly's son) and off we went. At my insistence they put on tennis shoes, or at least something that would protect their feet. I planned to walk on the dirt access road running by the house and returning by the paved highway, a distance of about 1.5 miles was my estimate.
Upon starting, Sarah stayed by my side and the boys trailed close behind. We passed other vacation homes an this road, some below us and some above us. For the most part the road is 10 to 20 feet above the river, sometimes there are homes between us and the river. At a point where the road was very close to the river we climbed down to the river. Not an easy thing to do with the wild foliage growing on an incline. The kids were like goats in handling that incline but for me it was a challenge to keep my footing. Once down, the boys immediately started throwing rocks into the river. Hearing a "ploosshh" with each rock seemed to inspire them to throw more. Sarah attempted to skip a stone without success. Right away the boys attempted to do the same, also without success. I told them I would show them how it was done and selected as flat a stone I could find. My throw was not an improvement on their results, it did not skip. A few more throws and I was beginning to believe the art of skipping a stone, for me, was gone forever. Finally, I got a stone to skip about three times and desiring to quit while ahead I directed everybody to get back to the road. Just before we left Sarah skipped a stone about five times, the clear champion in this group.
As we walked along the boys took the lead. They were very cute as they held hands and talked while walking. I was not close enough to hear the conversation but the sight of that friendship warmed my heart.
I decided on another descent to the river, where it was a bit easier. Here there was a large flat rock in the river just off the shore edge. I stepped onto the rock and Sarah did too. I helped Erin to get on the rock but Nathan would not risk it. All three of us urged him to join us but his caution overcame our pleading. Nathan pointed to something sparkling in the water and Sarah put her hand in and brought up some sand. Nathan was horrified that she did that. She tried to show him it was only sand but he only backed away as if it was poisonous. There was a bit of moss on the rock just below the waterline and Sarah pulled some of it out of the water. Once again, Nathan was overcome with fear and wanted Sarah to throw it away. (It was than I recalled how fearful his father, Duane, was when he was a kid.) Sarah is a curious observer.
We resumed the walk and the boys once more went on ahead. This time they were running a short distance then coming back when I called them. Sarah stayed with me. We found some bright green moss and called the boys back to see it. To the touch it felt like a putting green and I encouraged all to touch it and feel the texture. Nathan, ever the skeptic, refused to touch it. (When I told Duane about the incident he laughed and said: "When I was his age I wouldn't have touched it either.") I was on the watch for the herb fennel to see if I could get Nathan to taste it but none was spotted.
The dirt road came out onto the highway and we started back, once more the boys ahead. When cars came by we stepped off the road and walked in the rough grass. It was easier to walk on the road and the boys complained that the high grass hurt their legs, so we tended to stay on the pavement. I was pleased to see that, upon hearing a car approaching behind us, the boys would step off the pavement and onto the grass until the car passed. They did not need to be told.
While on the highway it became obvious that it was about to rain. The kids asked what we would do if it started to rain. My response: "We will get wet" was a bit unsettling to them. I think they believed their great-grandfather had a plan to keep them from getting wet. Eventually we came back to the dirt road on the way back to the house. At this time the weather turned misty and water droplets were building up on my hat and shirt. Just as the house came into view, a very light drizzle started. The boys ran ahead to get back to the house but Sarah stayed with me. It stopped raining before we got to the house and the two of us investigated some mosses that were in an open glade. At this spot, there was some moss that was even greener and brighter that what we had previously seen. Sarah pulled some up to take with her. She has a very healthy curiosity.