This morning we woke up around 6:00 and since the moment I opened my eyes I was itching to go on a little hike in the woods. So after breakfast I got us ready and made sure I packed some snacks & several extra pairs of clothes for Nixie since she has this inner compass that seems to always guide her directly to some source of water when we are out, it is quite impressive! I put her in the backpack and off we went to catch the train to Brockenhurst. The whole way there she was fiddling with my ponytail and giving the back of my head cuddles. She's been extra affectionate lately. Her new favourite phrase is “cuddle me!” and i don’t think i’ll ever grow tired of hearing it! I didn't time it very well and we had about 20 min to wait. She wanted out of the backpack so I reluctantly said OK, she has a tendency to just run off, incapable of staying still but thought I’d give her the benefit of the doubt and see what would happen and to my surprise she sat next to me on the bench ever so nicely until the train came! She had noticed the moon behind us and it was all she cared about, shouting with excitement at me to look at it, “Look Moon! Moon moon!! Look Moon!!” she’s been obsessed with the moon now for over a year and this time the moon captured her attention just long enough until the train arrived.
Once on the train we sat down and she sat next to the window super excited to be there, I gave her our ticket to give to the person who comes through to check them and she took this job so seriously. It was as though she has been given such an important mission and she took such great pride with this responsibility. She seemed so grown up, handing the ticket over to the man with such a purposeful look on her face, she was so proud of herself afterwards too...she looked me in the eyes and just beamed me the biggest smile and told me to put it in my bag.I did as I was told.
The train journey is only about 10 min, pretty much the maximum time Nixie will stay seated at the moment, she'd rather be running up and down the isles saying hello to everyone as she does when we are on airplanes.
I was gonna see if she'd be up for walking from the Station to Roydon woods, but we only made it to across the road when I decided to put her back in the backpack because she was so determined to go in the opposite direction. I always forget that the first bit of the walk is uphill and I was really feeling it! Nixie must be over 15 kilos by now and it's quite the workout carrying her around these days. The whole way to the woods we pass field after field of either horses, cows or sheep and Nixie won’t stop shouting, “sheep! Horses!! Oooh awww cuddle them hold them” over and over and getting a little sad knowing that she can't. I love that she's constantly surrounded by animals here, that it's become her normal.
Once in the woods the first thing she did was run up to this tree because she had seen mushrooms next to it, they were the teeniest of mushrooms but she ran up to me with her finds super excited repeating over and over “look! Look!! Treasure!” Then she proceeded to collect acorns and stones running back and forth to me showing me her favorites.
I love how time just stands still whenever we're in the woods, I love doing everything at her pace, and I love just going wherever we end up. We went off the path and into another section of the woods which looked so beautiful with so many little trees, the ground covered in brown ferns, and green moss. We were both paying attention to the trees and I was saying how we need to always treat the trees with love and respect because they give us the air we breathe and give us life and she went on to tell me which ones were a baby, a mummy , or a daddy; it had been ages since she's done that and she even was in the mood to cuddle the babies. She'd point to a baby in the distance and make her way over to it even if that meant crossing over and through giant ferns, twigs or branches and finally giving the little tree she had in her sight a cuddle and a stroke but also looking at it so lovingly, it really is such a sweet thing to see, I really don’t ever want this part of her to fade away.
As we made our way deeper and deeper into the woods we kept coming across so many spider webs with very big spiders in them, I had to really pay attention to where i was going because it felt like everywhere I stepped I was going to walk right through one and they seem to just appear suddenly. I kept pointing them out to her and she’d have a little look at them, seemed a little interested in them but mostly pretty unimpressed. That is until we came across this one web with a spider wrapped around a fly and she got so freaked out and upset, her whole body even shivered, she was going through some big intense emotions, crying so hard, I was trying to understand what it was she was feeling but she was too upset to say anything other than just let out all her tears, I really felt for her because it’s one of the biggest sad reactions i’ve ever seen from her, she was completely inconsolable but finally after a few minutes she looked at me with her red eyes and snot smeared face and said “sad” while pointing at the spider. I asked her, “are you sad because of the fly?” and she said “yes, sad” and i said, “oh it’s nice that you feel sad for the fly” and then she opened her arms and said those magic words, “cuddle me” and we had a beautiful moment just holding each other. I really would love to know exactly what she was experiencing with the spider and the fly, she was definitely trying to understand something that she’s never witnessed in the same way before, these little moments are everything to me, to be able to see her make sense of our world is truly the greatest gift.
A couple of minutes later we continued our hike and continued to see so many spiders. I said “we've seen so many spiders today” and she replied “yeah!!!!” so incredibly enthusiastic and I asked, “do you like them?” and she said “yes...i like them.” I just adore the mind of a two-year old, everything is constantly changing, expanding and transforming. Her focus shifted back to the trees and in an instant she was off running ahead shouting “baby….cuddle it!” she was referring to another tree that got some very special attention from her. And then as was expected she spotted a little creek in the woods and rushed over to it stepping into it with lightning speed all the while looking at me with the cheekiest of grins and proceeded to squeal with delight. This is her element, a muddy creek in the middle of the woods is her happy place, She marched up and down through the creek completely in her own little world, I sat back on a log just in awe of her spirit, maybe i should be teaching her not to jump in creeks and puddles with all her clothes on but to be honest I love that she love it so much and if it makes her as happy as it does why not?!?! Every so often she’d call me over to check out a slug or a beetle or to show me her latest jumping skills.
It got to that point where I needed to get her changed and put warm clothes on her. So I had to somehow get her to come to the path where it was dry. Luckily I think she was feeling that it was time to get changed too because she walked all the way to the path without any argument. We got her into some new dry clothes and immediately she was off, I hadn't had a chance to put her wellies back on and she was running ahead going through every single muddy puddle in her barefeet! She really makes me laugh!! I told her it wasn't such a good idea to run barefoot in the puddles because we don't know what's in them so she listened and waited for me to get to her to put on her wellies.
We continued on our walk, it was the perfect day for it, the sun was shining, the air smelled so good and we felt surrounded by an autumn freshness. She continued to collect treasures and as she had no pockets to put them in so she was trying to put them down her shirt for safe keeping but they'd just fall out and she kept trying to do it over and over, it was adorable, she had such determination, she'd even try to hold the bottom of her shirt down so that they wouldn’t fall out. There were a few cyclists out and about and each time she’d see one in the distance, she’d run to the side of the path and wait for them to pass us, and as they got nearer she'd get more and more excited, her face beaming them a huge smile.
We continued on the path and arrived at another section of forest where we get to go through a gate and Nixie just loves a good gate, not sure why, but they make her really happy and I've always been able to get her to walk in my direction if I can see one in the distance. What I really love about the woods here is that the scenery constantly changes, nothing ever looks the same. On the other side of the gate are two trees that I love. The roots on one of them is so amazing and Nixie shared my enthusiasm today, she was so drawn to this tree, even giving it a cuddle, there were lots of feathers on the ground that she picked up and wanted to give to the tree, it was so beautiful! She's such a nature girl. In the field next to where we were I could see two horses so we went to check them out, they were all the way on the other side of the field but I called out to them and as soon as they saw us they ran to us!! We were greeted by the kindest most gentle one eyed black horse, he wanted to be stroked and cuddled and was so gentle with Nixie and she was so brave not even flinching for a second. It was a wonderful moment.
Afterwards I could feel it was time to begin heading back home so I changed her once more into some dry trousers and put her in the backpack. We made it to the station with only having to wait 5 min. Nixie was in the best of moods and once on the train she just wanted to cuddle. And now we're back home and she's sound asleep next to me. Couldn’t have asked for a better day.