It turns out my daughter isn’t a big fan of nature
I took my daughter on The Bermuda National Trust nature walk around Spittal Pond this week.
It was a great experience for children if they liked nature as it turned out, mine didn’t.
Every year around this time, hundreds of children and parents descend on the usually quiet reserve to experience nature and hear expert advice on birds and geographic features.
The Bermuda National Trust recommends the walk for children over the age of five. My daughter is four.
However, I think what happened next was more about personality than age. We saw people carrying babies, and there were children who looked younger than my daughter, running about having a ball.
I thought it would be a good bonding experience and get her out into the fresh air. I also went with the knowledge that we probably wouldn’t be able to do the whole walk.
Let’s just say she started asking to go home when we got to the parking lot before the walk. Stephanie likes to make stuff, constantly, all day long, and this walk in nature was cutting in on her glue and stick time.
I thought arriving early would help beat the crowds, but actually just the opposite happened. The first group that set off had more than 30 people in it, so we stayed back and waited for the next. It also had around 30 people.
In the meantime some teenage volunteers did a wonderful job entertaining the youngsters, if only my daughter actually wanted to be entertained. Normally outgoing, she held back, clinging madly to my leg. We watched as the teens gathered the children up into a game that involved dancing toward each other, and singing a little song.
After the song got going they started to call out children’s names. “Let’s marry Zac,” the song went. Little Zac looked on in horror and then bolted out of the parking lot. He ran all the way down the slope towards the nature reserve and out of sight, with his mother chasing madly after him. It was understandable as a lot of single guys start feeling nervous on Valentine’s Day even if they are still in nursery school.
My daughter brightened up a little when “bingo cards” and crayons were handed out. The bingo cards had various animals and plants which you had to tick off. Finally, we moved off in a large herd of people.
“You didn’t tell me there would be rocks,” my daughter grumbled as we picked our way down the slope towards the gate of the reserve. We stopped and stood still as a group for about five minutes. It took awhile to understand that we had stopped because someone ahead was telling the group something about nature. What it was, I have no idea. We could not hear or see anything of relevance in the back, but we moved off again shortly. We came to the pond, where an egret could be seen in the distance interacting with some black ducks.
“There was a falcon here a minute ago, but with all you people coming, he flew away,” the presenter said cheerfully. Binoculars were passed around, and my daughter checked out the ducks on the pond which she insisted were alligators.
“Mummy, it stinks here,” she said. “Can we go home and get some fresh air?”
“Look kid, this IS fresh air,” I told her.
I dragged her on to station three, where Mark Outerbridge gave a talk about eels in Bermuda’s ponds. She had a good look at a dead eel he held up. Then as the talk went on she found a stick and began trying to draw pictures in the dirt, but with the press of the crowd, this wasn’t easy.
“Can we go home now?” she asked. Her voice echoed loudly in the silence that had fallen. My husband and I have memories of being dragged around various nature reserves and historical parks, usually in the blazing sun by our own well-meaning parents. I gave in, because I didn’t want nature to seem like torture. We began to walk against the tide of various groups coming after ours. They seemed a lot smaller than our group.
The last group passed us and we were alone for a few minutes. We sat by the pond and had a look at that egret and the “alligators” that bobbed about on the pond. She drew a little in the dirt again, muttering “what’s that smell ..?” Then we left and I deposited her at the Masterworks art camp. She breathed a little sigh of relief. Maybe next year we’ll try again.