This weekend is unique – Earth Day and Easter overlap somewhat, and people will be out and about in droves, searching for treasures. Some will be seeking the pastel plastic egg, others will be looking for trilliums. Some will be peeking beneath bushes to find a dyed hardboiled egg, others will be looking for rabbits, lizards, and tarantulas (fuzzy gems common in the drier areas of the East Bay).
Easter egg hunts were always an event to look forward to, when I grew up. Because we lived in the country, there was never a lack of places to hide the eggs we would dye. Inevitably, one or two would go unfound, despite our parent’s efforts to count them all and supervise where we were finding them and where we were passing them up (for heavy hinting later). A couple weeks later, a sulfur-rich scent would provide the biggest hint about a hiding location unfound, and we’d knock the newly discolored and swollen egg out of its hiding place with the end of a broom or shovel.
Holly, at ten months, has an eye for treasure – any oddity on our carpet is crawled to with fervor. When outside, she waves her hands to tell me about the wind in the trees, and points, telling me she wants to touch the seeds of a fuzzy dandelion. All treasures need to be felt and tasted at her developmental age, so I am careful to watch her around Foxglove (at left), Oleander, Poison Oak, Buttercups, and Magnolia, which grow so readily around here. All three can be extremely harmful if swallowed. I’m happy to be past the season where mushrooms are so prevalent – another major risk for kids, and so much more accessible to crawling babies with limited teeth.
At Rancho last Friday, we saw plenty of animals and some moldy poop, always treasures to 4-year-old Max, who now has words to describe what he sees, and independence (and accountability) to be able to touch what he knows is safe to touch (and not put things in his mouth). We counted and kept track of landmarks on our hike at Santa Teresa Park on Friday this week, with Nick and Jordan helping us to find and re-find the Madrone Tree (which aptly assumed the name Harry Potter Tree), the Rusty old barn (that sometimes houses owls), the bridge over the creek, and the creek itself, which is always a hit for toddlers. We spied striated rocks containing quartz, a turkey flock, horses, dogs, and a dozen wildflowers and grasses.
We hope you can enjoy the weather and wonderful places unique to California, and come out for a Stroller Hike, run, camping trip, or other activity today, or bring an egg hunt out to a park or open space, encouraging your child to find the gems of the season!
-Debbie, little Max, and wee Holly