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  • A Saturday morning in Dartmouth, in the beginning of February, but hard to tell that it's winter at all. To make something of the warmth my older sister, Kate, and I took her kids for a hike. Norah is a exuberant 4 year old, accompanied by here 3 year old companion, Finn. We stop by the farm to say hello to the animals and then we make our way to Destruction Brook. The lot tells us that we weren't the only ones who thought a trek through the woods was a good idea. As soon as the straps came undone in their car seats, they were bustling. We put them on the trail, like a wound up toy cars they took off! The short strides of the miniature legs permitted Kate and I to walk along casually without losing sight of them. They ran with one another as quickly as their legs would carry them, before stopping for a granola bar break and a race around a tree trunk. We proceeded to the bridge over the brook where the sticks and leaves set sail. They were intrigued by the running water, but were back from the ledge by the noise of the current sliding down the rocks, and pinch of motherly intervention. The four of us made a loop and then headed car-ward, strategically to conserve their energy. After they fought over a stick, adamant that there we no others in the woods worthy enough, we began our dash back to where we came from. Norah declaring a race between teams of 2, insisted that we gain the greatest lead we could taking my hand in hers shouting, "Keep running, I see daylight!". We stopped at a birch tree and hid to pose a surprise, however Kate and Finn payed our efforts little attention, and Finn didn't believe it was an owl making the noises from the tree. Norah fervently tried to climb as well and felt accomplished pulling herself up on the fist branch. Her and I realized that our opponents were gaining the lead so we scurried to catch up, seeking out any shortcut off of the beaten path. We managed to make up the ground we lost and eventually pulled ahead! Finn gave an exhausted gasp, but wouldn't stop moving his stubby legs. Rounding the last bend he proclaimed in his soft, tired voice, "We made it!".
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