Thursday, September 13, 2012

Getting Lost In The Woods

We have been learning about maps the last two weeks in our homeschool.  We've learned about the different types of maps, how to read a map, how to read the legend, and today we even drew our own map of our local community.

Part of our curriculum is to take a weekly nature walk.  Today's instructions told us to start a leaf collection and do some bark rubbings.  I decided that we'd visit our local nature center for today's walk so we'd have a wider variety of leaves to choose from.

We started out on our walk doing just fine.  We hit the first trail marker and saw that the number on the trail marker in no way corresponded to the map we had.  Okay.  We know where we are, we can do this.  We walked toward  an area designated as "Prairie." We went left when the map said to go left, we went right when the map said to go right, totally ignoring the obviously new trail markers that didn't reflect the old map.

Next we entered the "White Pine Plantation" and started collecting our leaves and attempting bark rubbings.  While we managed to collect a very respectable amount of leaves, our rubbings didn't go so well.  They mostly looked like bits of crayon markings and not so much like bark.

After the Pine area, we came to the Hardwood Forest and circled around a pond.  We'd just discussed this morning about algae's role in photosynthesis so seeing a pond completely covered in algae was a treat.  While no one volunteered to go swimming in the pond, we did enjoy seeing the ducks and frogs.

This is where our path got a little tricky.  We followed the trail markers just fine until we hit a detour.  Oh those stupid detours.  David said to go right, I said to go left, and being the adult, I won.  Unfortunately, David was right.  But rather than turn around and go back, I decided to just keep walking figuring we'd hit the end of the trail eventually.  We had a map, we were bound to reach a spot that I recognized.

We kept on walking as I tried my best to tune out the "I'm tired"s and the "I'm thirsty"s which were only slightly more annoying than the "Are we there yet"s.  I was really starting to wish that I had a compass with me so I could figure out if we were headed in the right direction as I was completely turned around thanks to the detour taking us down a path I'd never been on before.  Not to mention that I'm pretty sure we'd left the official detour back when I decided to go left.

A map is a beautiful thing.  A map is able to get you from Point A to Point B no problem.  But sometimes you encounter detours.  Or trail markers that don't line up with what the map says.  You are wandering around wondering if you're headed in the right direction, if you're lost, if you're ever going to make it to where you're trying to get.  Nothing looks familiar and you keep forging ahead hoping to find something that you remember from the last time you were there.  It can get a little scary (or really scary) when you realize you're lost and have no idea which way to turn.  Even if you turned back around, there's no guarantee you could lead yourself back to the point where you made a wrong turn.

Luckily for us, there is a map that is never wrong and never changes.  It can always lead you from Point A to Point B.  It can always steer you in the right direction after you've taken a wrong turn even without a compass.  This perfect, accurate map is the Bible.  It always points the way to Jesus and Heaven.  Even when I take a detour, the Bible is right there with the directions I need to get back on the right road.  When I become hopelessly lost, the Bible is ready to show me the way to go.  All I have to do is read it.

Eventually we did make it out of the woods and back to the car.  True, we were never completely lost because there weren't a lot of places to go and I knew our path would get us back eventually.  It was just a matter of how long it would take us to get there.  We went about a quarter mile out of our way because I didn't listen to David.  After I ate humble pie, I told David that next time I would listen to him.

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