Monday, September 13, 2010

Blue Skies Welcome Here!

I think I have "shared" (maybe "complained" is a better word!) often enough about the extremely high level of pollution here in our city which makes our skies white and smoggy the vast majority of the time. On the worst days I cannot clearly see the high-rise buildings outside my kitchen window, about 100 meters away. I have my own methods for keeping my spirits up during long spells of white skies, which include lighting fragrant candles, playing music, and of course, freshly brewed coffee!

Usually the winter is pretty bad, because the city-run heating system is a coal burning system. But for some reason, August was a particularly bad month as well. Maybe it was because it rained almost every day. Or maybe it was because it was humid and sticky and hot, still. But for whatever reason, I think it's accurate to say we hardly saw the sun the entire month.

So, when this past Friday morning dawned with actual visible clouds (not just smog) scudding across the skies, and as I sat in my comfy chair early in the morning, sipping tea and reading the Word, it began to look like the clouds were going to clear and the sky would be visible! I opened the windows and was delighted to find a fresh breeze was blowing and the clouds were breaking up! I even saw some blue skies peeking through!

This was an event! This was a cause for celebration! This was an occasion to drop everything and go outside while the sky was still blue!!!

So that's exactly what we did. I declared it a perfect day for a field trip; and despite some difficulty getting everyone ready and out the door (partially delayed by a leaking kitchen sink which we had to call a repairman and get fixed), we packed a backpack and headed to a local park.

My helper rode with us so that she could take one child and I could take the other two on our bikes, and we arrived at a beautiful local park, Five Dragon Springs. Our city is famous for its natural springs that bubble up out of the limestone rock bed below and the spring water which is beautifully clear and clean. Some of the local people like to collect the water and drink it, but I wouldn't trust it! We're definitely in a "bottled-water-only" country! But the park is beautiful, and I figured on a Friday morning it wouldn't be too busy.

The morning started out cool but all the girls had their jackets off after about the first 10 minutes. Christin enjoyed getting out and about!

Sweet girlies! You can see--it's real sunshine on their faces!

We wandered around a bit, just following paths and seeing where they took us, and ended up at this pretty bridge with hundreds of fish to watch down below. I thought we might as well take the opportunity to reinforce some recent math concepts: Are there MORE orange fish or MORE black fish? Are the white fish MORE or LESS than the orange fish? We also observed how the fish were eating the roots of the lily pads and had fun watching them swim effortlessly and interact with each other under the water.

This picture of Clara Anne includes a bit of the sky, pretty blue in the background! Love it!

And I love this girl!

And this one too! Hungry, Christin?

Beautiful spring water was worth a moment of contemplation.

I asked a nearby grandmother to take our family picture; she was so excited to help out the foreigner. Lots of other people took the opportunity to take our photo at this point too (note the interested onlookers on the left of the picture!), but then everyone started to try to put their kids in our picture too! I accidently deleted a really funny photo where people were quickly shoving their kids on either side of us to take a picture...such is the life we lead here! Sometimes we're not sure if we're movie stars!

We stopped at one point to read a book about sunshine, have a little snack and snap these last pictures. All in all we had a really fun morning, even though Clara Anne got tired of all the extra attention (people wanting her picture, touching her, feeling her hair, etc) and was ready to go. What a great field trip! The girls were glad to get a chance to play outside and I was thankful for blue skies and a fresh breeze, it lifted all of our spirits. Thank you, Lord! Blue skies, you're always welcome here!


Brad and Carrie said...

I think at least 3 times a day I comment on the skies here. Oh how I don't miss the skies there. Looks like you guys had a blast. See you in a few week!

Kevin and Becky said...

Blue skies, blue skies...where are thou, o blue skies?

Gretchen said...

AH, what a welcome break. You made the right call, homeschool Mama -- field trip time.

And CRACK ME UP that people were trying to take pictures with you guys. HAHAHAHAHA!!! That seriously makes me laugh.

Thanks for the reminder to appreciate the beauty of what God created. "The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands."