Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Nighttime Nature Ride = Simple FAMILY FUN

     I was recently surprised by the local nightlife here in the outskirts of small town PA.

     I have two boys.  Ronnie-16.  Preston-4. Like most families, we're often on the lookout for things we can do together that everyone will enjoy.  Last night was no exception. 
     When our evening plans to visit with family were cancelled, the scent of disappointment wafted through the car like and old Sippy cup full of sour milk.  In an attempt to save the evening and do something fun as a family, we decided to take a scenic ride through the countryside.
     With Ronnie’s new spotlight in tow, we headed out to the back roads of Central PA. Our only goals: to enjoy the scenery and spot a few deer. 
     As it turned out, we found there is a lot that goes on when the sun goes down.  From bats and skunks to deer and possum...there is a real busyness in the woods at night.  I mean, I knew there were nocturnal animals, but, I never expected to see so many in one evening. 
     The first little guy we came across was a very arrogant possum.  He sat in the middle of the road nibbling away on his bedtime snack.  Instead of being scared away by our headlights, his stare seemed to say, “Do you mind?”  We imagined various ways of interacting with this guy.  
     We also saw many deer (13 in total), and many zipping-zapping bats—nothing too impressive at first.  But, then, we saw a mischievous coyote and a very sneaky red fox tiptoeing along the side of the road.  Where were they going?  Perhaps, to grandmother's house to join the BIG BAD WOLF or maybe they were headed to "Bloomingdale's to buy a hat that would turn out to be a mistake." 
     As we were heading home, the last and most exciting creature we spotted was a large owl.  His wide wings caught my attention.  We watched as he spread his wings and with silent flight, he pushed his talons forward, lowering them like landing gear, to snatch something out of the air.  He left out a loud screech and flew to the top of a tree where we saw his head shift from side to side nearly making a complete circle.  We were in awe!
      Who would have thought there was such nightlife here in PA?  On the way home, we decided that our simple ride had provided a lot of entertainment. We also decided, we will do it again.  It might be fun to keep a journal of all the creatures we spot along the way.  
       So if your looking for some simple and relaxing family fun, head out on a nighttime nature ride.  Don't forget your spotlight!

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