"Let's walk down to the river," I say, after the rain lets up and the world warms up, all steamy and green.
"NO!" they shout.
"C'mon," I say, "let's go for a stomp."
"I don't want to go for a stomp!" they say. "If I go outside, I'm riding my bike."
There was a time when I could coax, cajole, when they were small enough I could put rubber boots on their feet and lift them up and carry them out the front door, when they were timid enough not to stay at the house without me there.
But that was a long time ago.
Now they pile up scrap wood and "jump" their bikes over it.
They're in that age when nothing their mother suggests appeals to them. I've been through it once before, but this time there are no sweet five-year-olds to paint leaves and hunt for bugs and build fairy houses with me and take away the sting.
If the oldest one were home, he might go along, just to humor me, but he's at a friend's house for the day.
So I go alone.
Inspired by an essay I read not long ago ("The Art of Wandering" by Ann Zwinger), I don't follow the trail, but instead swerve off into the trees.
A week earlier I had done the same, following the river north instead of south, until it reached the road.
This time I go the way I've only gone in winter, when we go out in search of a Christmas tree or to skate on our neighbor's pond.
I admit it's nice, alone with my own thoughts, but I wonder what it means for me and my platform of "mother-nature writer" if my kids don't want to go out into nature with me.
"I feel a little alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit." H. D. Thoreau.
I try to be mindful, and focus on what's around me, without thinking about what I want or need to do with the rest of my day, or writing a blog post in my head. (I composed that sentence while on this walk).