The wind blew and the sun was warm as winter came to an end in Pinamar, on the coast of Argentina. My three children, each carrying a stick, walked into the forest and as they did, the sand dunes and pine trees transformed into a land of the wild.
That’s when our life began.
We slowed down and we were there, living at the pace of time, of our time. The birds swarmed past, the sun glared off the sand like a field of snow, and we walked, our minds slowing and the worries of the week evaporating and our heads filling with adventure, the sand dunes turning into sand mountains and the brambles into a grey forest filled with snakes. We walked through with care, and each took their own course, reporting the surprises they found.
“A fox!” my eight-year-old daughter yelled, running back from afar, down a sand dune and to me. “I saw a fox!”
She told her younger brother and sister.
They looked in the direction from where she’d come to see if they too could spot the fox.
The eldest turned back to me and asked, “Are birds wild animals?”
“Yes,” I said, entering into a brief explanation of what constitutes wild. But she was already racing away in her mind and now in body on another adventure deeper into the forest but not so far to loose sight of me.
We stayed for an hour. It seemed like longer. There was no hurry, and little worry. For a parent, this was dreamy. This was relaxing. This was a perfect moment. Walking with kids in the big city, where we live most of the year, can shatter the nerves. The only calm comes midway between blocks when the three children are furthest from the danger of cars. They run, they ride and they race to the corner. I follow, hoping they are wise enough to not step into the street, to stay on the sidewalk. They do. But visions of a misstep flash through my head every block, every single block, and my head grows weary. I do not relax. I fret.
Then there are times like these in the wild forest when we are away from the city and on the fringe of a coastal town where my kids can run wild and where there is no hurry and little danger.
Except for this!
My eldest daughter came running.
“Quick!” she shouted to me and her brother and sister, who were rolling down a sand dune. “Run!”
For behind her came a flock of birds.
But they weren’t birds.
“Pterodactyls!” my daughter yelled.
And she ran past and her brother and sister followed. And they broke into song as they fled the pterodactyls, blaring out the theme song of “Indiana Jones”: “Dah da da DAHH, Dah da da dah dahh…”
I ran after them humming right behind.