I’ve been thinking about change lately. And not only because the world is suspended in a grey space between the fall lushness and the white splendour of winter. Or because we are about to put another decade behind us. Our family is going through a change as well. Not a massive seismic shift. More of a gentle, gradual transformation, like the water reshaping the shore of the lake or the forest constantly redrawing its contours.
Our trips and microadventures that went from four to three team members a while ago are now increasingly reduced to my husband and myself as our fifteen-year-old son makes plans of his own. And while we do enjoy each other’s company, it is still an adjustment. So we return to the same places that hold so many memories: never ending searches for geocaches, bird feeding turned into a game – whoever gets more birds to land on their hand wins, our younger son not being able to pass by the smallest patch of ice without trying to break it. We recount those stories to each other as our feet pound those same trails creating new memories – this time with just the two of us.
Not that this changes is unexpected. The moment they are born, children start their journey away from us, eventually taking a path of their own. Our kids’ trails haven’t veered too far away yet; often they run right alongside ours for long stretches until the trail splits off again. Occasionally, all our paths converge in some familiar place like Point Pelee a few weeks ago.
Point Pelee has a lot going for it: it is the southernmost point of mainland Canada, one of the smallest among Canada’s national parks yet the most ecologically diverse. But that’s not why we love it. We come here for what it doesn’t have: the hustle and bustle of the city, which is particularly noticeable during the shoulder season. At Camp Henry, ours was one of the two oTENTiks occupied over the weekend. oTENTiks is another reason we keep returning to this park: cozy, convenient, with a campfire smell courtesy of a wood stove – everything we love in our cold weather accommodations.
This trip was not very different from our past visits and served as a good reminder that some things never change. Even though I now have to constantly tilt up my head to look at my kids, they still sometimes behave like five-year-olds teasing and mock-wrestling each other. There are still endless rounds of board games. And whenever I suggest a jumping photo, there is still a lot of grumbling and yet, they go through with it, even if it requires multiple takes in less than ideal weather.
As always, we took it slow during our trip: read, played games, hiked to the Tip. Walking through the park became a study in connections. Vines climbing up trees, wrapping them in a tight embrace, some getting swallowed by the bark. Tree trunks melding together, then pushing each other apart, only to reconnect again. Fungi coating rotting stumps, betraying the presence of an invisible underground network that connects trees in the forest near and far. Our kids may no longer need to wrap around us like vines but I know we will always be connected no matter how far away their paths take them.