"We are living in fraught times."


I was going to offer a clich├ęd description of the times and the maps drawn by small boys this week after our nature walk. Indeed, I walked perilously close to the precipitous edge of a pregnant pause or a anxiety-laden moment. I was already feeling purdy darn fraught because the one time I put my lesson in a Power Point, the computer was completely disconnected from its tangle of necessary wires.

"We won't go that way," I said and pointed, "because it's full of poison ivy." Three-fourths of the group followed my finger instead of following me away from the danger. 

It went better today when I said we might encounter Capital D danger. "Do you think it will be sharks?," I asked. "Or maybe alligators?" They all followed me in high hopes of meeting both.

A five year old boy's yellow brick road goes past Rattlesnake River and Shark Lake among other pitfalls. He was delighted with it. I like the way all the obstacles are off to one side like cul-de-sacs while the path goes directly from start to finish. Contrast this five year old girl's map of "Everywhere We Went This Morning". Her younger brother thought snapping turtles were soccer ball turtles, but his main drawing was an enormous fire ant mound:

A tiny girl worked very hard on her map, while a boy walked all the way around the lake.

One mom's eyes lit up when I told about taking dictation while the child drew a map. Her son liked the tic tac toe stump the best on the hike, and I won a convert!

And one person besides me got a little bit teary when I told about my father's map of his hometown drawn when he was sliding slowly into dementia. Some things are way more frightening than fire ants or sharks, but our brains are wired for mapping.

Funny on the day we were making wild green games with orange stickers this gift arrived to connect everything!


© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


seana graham said...

You take all these kids on a Danger Hike and ALSO manage to get up all their images and write about them? Who are you, Wonder Woman?

Maps are great.

Collagemama said...

It helps that the big hike was about two blocks long!

seana graham said...

I'm sorry, but you are not going un-impress me.

Kathleen said...

I agree re: Wonder Woman!