Monday, October 18, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost

Sunshine's birthday merited a special treat, an outing to Fiesta Fun.  The neon sign flashes near the freeway, enticing my little ones every time we drive into town for a vacation.  We step through a blow up monster mouth into a music blaring, child squealing madhouse.  For $60, we purchase the smallest package that includes bumper boats, miniature golf, and 10 arcade tokens per person.  We begin with the boats.  Even Sunshine is tall enough to pilot her own boat.  We put around a bit, till Sunshine, who does not know how to steer, is pulled into the water fountain.  Panicked, she stands up in her boat, screaming the park to a halt.  Perhaps she hopes to jump into the water to save herself from the fountain.  I scream, "SIT DOWN!!!"  I put put on over and bump her a few times, Briz comes from the opposite side and together we bump her out of the whirlpool effect.

Everyone politely watches the others put their brightly colored balls for the first 4 holes.  Little Mother asks to go ahead.  Ladybug soon follows.  Within 5 minutes, they have "completed" all 12 plus holes and have run out to ask us for more tokens.  A sad and soggy Sunshine drips near us and "watches as Briz and I finish up our holes.  "Don't you want to try to hit your ball in this one?"  "NO."  "O.K."

The children quickly learn that the fun games offer few tickets per play so they gravitate to the games of chance where for no fun at all, you might win a jackpot of 50 tickets.  After they have exhausted our supply of tokens after their own, they turn in their hard earned tickets for flimsy penny prizes (you know the kind that last a few hours at best?)

The car ride home was not horrible, but was tinged with a bit of grumpiness.  Somehow, the neon siren had not produced the expected joy but emptiness and discontent.   

The next day, Briz spotted a canyon that looked intriging.  We pulled over to see if there was a way to explore this area.  We found a small trail and this sign.

Could it get any better?  We found a secret trail!  Scrub Jays flitted ahead darting in and out of the stands of trees and shrubs that smelled as Little Mother put it, apples and cinnamon.

The color scheme was unreal.  We traveled on sand through pine and deciduous forests, over creek beds, and next to sheer cliffs straight out of A Crooked Sky.

We crawled in caves, searched for frogs, climbed mountains, and garbled strange noises to hear our echos.  Little Mother ran like a deer, Sunshine and Ladybug paused often to announce that they could hear their heart beating.

Briz told the girls they'd be lucky to get their mom back to the car, and he was right, I'd never been to such a unique spot.  Each turn showed new vegetation, or formations, and the constantly changing vistas were majestic and awe inspiring.  Finally with fear of the fading daylight, we ran the majority of the strenuous and rocky trail back to our car.

Toward the freeway, we discovered a picnic table and dined on our weekend leftovers.  Our meal was scanty, we were dirty, and a bit chilly, yet the conversation sparkled.  The girls laughed and joked with each other and with us their parents.  They shared the yummy tidbits and peeled tangerines for one another.  Three silky dirty heads leaned on my shoulder as we laughed.  I laid my head on a much larger bald and sweaty one in perfect peace.

Lesson:  Our family thrives on the road less traveled.  Interestingly, it is usually the least expensive road as well. 


  1. Absolutely gorgeous pictures and prose. Thanks, Midodi.

  2. What a wonderful legacy you are building! We do so much love you all!!

  3. fabulous pictures and what a wonderful birthday!!