A January Walk

Yesterday I took Katya and Chad out for a walk, after Katya got home from school.  The woods were wet, muddy, brown, and very beautiful.

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Katya wanted to take a different path than usual, and so we headed up a steep muddy slope on a thin foot path. Within the first two yards, I discovered that Katya has a fear of slipping. “Katya, look at–Katya, look at me. Do you want to go back? We can go back down?” “No, no, no. There!” said Katya– I translate–pointing up the path. “Are you sure?” “Yes!” “Then stop screaming!”

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But it was hard for her to stop screaming. It was a narrow muddy foot path, surrounded by bushes, saplings, grasses, and the odd thorn. Katya’s plant recognition is not sufficiently developed to the point where she can identify prickers vs sticks or stalks at a glance, and she knows that bushes can poke, so she was in a constant state of twitch, shrieking every three steps or so. The muddy path posed an additional problem, because at any moment Katya felt that she could be pitched headlong into one of the aforementioned perils.  But she did *not* want to quit!

We must’ve taken a wrong turning, because we ended up on the golf course.  Katya was *so* happy to be able to turn around without worrying about bushes and sticks and things.

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The way back down was a challenge for me. Chad has been climbing down hills since he could walk, and has mastered the sideways “crab walk” necessary for descending steep slopes with dignity, but Katya’s early life was spent on flat surfaces. Her unsteadiness led her to grip tightly to my hand, depending on me to keep us both upright, a difficult task when she kept stepping on my foot!

Apart from a muddy shoe, we made it down without mishap. We cleaned our shoes off in a snow pile, and Chad and Katya had a snowball fight.

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We arrived home at the best time–just in time for supper!

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