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Lions and Tigers and Bears!

Source: Personal experience

Read this and other stories in the book, Noticing Nature, by Chuck Bonner. Also available in e-book format for Amazon Kindle.

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A pleasant hike with Granddad aroused a bit of trepidation in little Amber.

A few years ago, I went for a hike with my two granddaughters in Beaver Brook. Amber was about three years old, and Talia was about eight.

We walked along the Beaver Brook Trail and listened to the birds. We watched the newts and looked for frogs in the beaver pond.

As we entered the mature forest near the Red Pine Trail, I was reminded of Talia's favorite movie. She had probably watched The Wizard of Oz every month of her life, and here we were strolling through a deep, dark forest of huge, ancient trees.

"This looks like the forest in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy met the Cowardly Lion," I said.

Talia was up for it immediately, and we crept along the trail chanting, "Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!"

Amber wasn't quite getting into it. She seemed to be amused, and a little bit puzzled at what Talia and I were doing. I figured she just wasn't such a big fan of The Wizard of Oz, and I thought nothing of it.

Soon we arrived at the clearing at the end of the trail where the cabins were. We played around the giant fire pit. The girls chased each other around the pit, running atop the stone wall and jumping across the gaps. (Well, I had to lift Amber across the gaps, but she pretended she was jumping.) And so the afternoon passed.

After an hour or so, it was time to head home.

As we approached the forest, Amber stopped short. She looked down at the ground with a little pout. I asked her what was wrong.

"I don't like Wuzzaboz."

It took a couple of repetitions for me to understand what she was saying. It had been more than an hour, and I had forgotten all about it.

When I finally realized what she was afraid of, I assured her that there was no Wizard of Oz. No lions or tigers or bears. It only looked like the forest in Talia's favorite movie. Nothing to be afraid of.

Amber was quickly satisfied with this, and we all continued our little hike.

But just to be sure Amber was okay, Talia and I didn't sing about "lions and tigers and bears" this time.

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Copyright © 2007, Charles J. Bonner, All Rights Reserved