When walking to school becomes an adventure

The walk to our school bus stop is two-tenths of a mile down a dirt road. There’s not much to look at: a few houses, a lot of dead leaves, telephone poles, and trees. There’s no mountain view, lake breeze, or flowers to speak of. It’s not even uphill both ways–just one way. There is nothing distinctive about it at all. It is completely unremarkable.

When both kids started school this year, I made a vow not to drive them down to the bus unless the weather was extreme or I really had to be somewhere immediately after the bus. It’s been 163 days so far and I’ve held to that pretty well. We’ve walked that unremarkable route in rain, sun, snow, wind, even ice pellets one memorable day. We walked on at least one day of below zero temperatures. The kids have skipped it, run it, ice skated down it, and complained the whole length of it.

We’ve seen salamanders (alive and dead), snakes (ditto), and frogs (just dead) in the road. We’ve stopped to listen to woodpeckers, look for snow fleas in melting snow, and blow dandelion fluff. Recently we discovered a section of road so attractive to slugs that the kids christened it Slugsylvania and began naming the slimy residents.


I’m told his name is Phil.

Lest you think we are constantly composed and serene, we’ve also run pell-mell down the road so we don’t miss the bus many times. In fact, just this morning I had to yell “THIS IS NOT THE TIME” as someone stopped to examine a recently unfurled stand of ferns.

We’re in one of those stretches of life where we are too busy to plan elaborate outings or grab anything more than chunks of time outside, most of them in our dooryard. Our weekends have been taken up with nothing more glamorous than trying to get the garden in, watching the hummingbirds at the feeder, and little walks to the frog pond. Someday we’ll get back to bigger adventures but until then, I’m glad we are able to take a little time each morning to enjoy the world that surrounds us, two-tenths of a mile at a time.

walking to school

Cherie Galyean

About Cherie Galyean

In a perfect world, Cherie Galyean would spend hours every day chasing her kids up hiking trails, pretending to garden, and baking things. Instead, she works full-time in the non-profit sector and fits those other things in-between loads of laundry in her free time. A Maine native with multiple hometowns, she currently lives on Mount Desert Island with her husband, seven-year-old daughter, five-year-old son, and the best shelter mutt in the world.