Evolution of a Teenager

We’re back from a relaxing family vacation in the wilds of Canada. When I was a kid, my parents bought property on the Bruce Peninsula, right on the shores of Lake Huron. There was no sandy beach, just these flat, rock plains. When my siblings and I were little, we loved exploring the craggy shoreline and creating fairy-tale hideaways amidst the moss-blanketed trees and thick ground cover of the woods. It was always an exciting adventure going there on vacation.

Until I entered the teen years that is. Then, going up there became a total drag. I mean there was nothing to do, nobody to talk to, nothing to see, and nowhere good to lay out and work on my tan. (Those rock ledges were darn hard!)

Years passed, and my parents built a log cabin there inviting Chris and me to visit soon after we were married. I rolled my eyes and sighed deeply for the entire five-hour trip. I did not look forward to that long weekend at all! We arrived and Chris was immediately captivated by the rugged beauty of the place. He thought it was “cool.” Cool?

Seeing the place anew through his eyes, I actually came to cherish it again. Not the way I had as a child running free, but as an adult. I now appreciate the unusual rock formations, plant life & hiking trails that can only be found there. The raw beauty of that peninsula is such a rare find today, especially for those of us living in present-day suburbia.

Once they were born, we began bringing our children up there each summer. We’ve missed going the past two summers. So this summer, I suspected at ages 14 and 16, they would react a lot like I did, bored with the lack of civilization. Only one T.V. station, no X-Box, Facebook, IM-ing or cell phone reception.

But apparently, my children are way more evolved teenagers than I was.

We hiked around the rocky Niagara Escarpment and saw beautiful waterfalls. We hunted for rare orchids and the area’s infamous carnivorous plants that trap small bugs for nourishment. Joshua particularly enjoyed snapping pics of those.

Both kids recently discovered photography and couldn’t get enough shots of the amazing sunsets there. The colors morphed and reformed by the second, reminding me of an old Ziggy cartoon where Ziggy is sitting on a cliff watching this amazing sunset scene unfold in front of him. The colors are dazzling, and Ziggy is just sitting there clapping his hands saying “Go God!”

One night, after a round of board games (what are those?), we set out our folding chairs, and tipped back our heads to watch God in action. You don’t see stars like that in the ‘burbs. No siree! We searched for constellations, and watched the phenomenal light show of shooting stars. Joshua commented on the amazing fact that God really does know each star by name. Of course that didn’t stop him from naming a star himself. “Bob” is now officially part of the Big Dipper.

Just before we headed home, I walked the short path to the water one last time. It was a brilliant morning. Not a soul around as usual. The sunshine shimmered on the water so brightly that it appeared white instead of the deep navy blue and ocean green that it usually does. The rhythm of the waves sliding up against the rocky shore, then slipping back again was hypnotic and soothing. Ashleigh had followed me down there. She turned and said, “I could sit here for hours just watching the waves like this.”

Hmmm…like I said, my kids are way more evolved teenagers than I was.

Good thing.


Buddhist In The West said...

Nature is one of the things my son and i tend to agree on. We both enjoy hiking the local escarpment or coastal track. Being a teen he prefers to do so solo - sans mom - though! But it remains something we have in common. I think a lot of kids these days miss that connection from amidst the world of computers, TV, and cell phones...
That place sounds great!

Michelle Zhang said...

Does your family have Facebook? Are Josh and Ashleigh as Facebook-obsessed as me? :]