My daughter discovered the cure for asthma last year. It had been hidden away for almost a hundred years we’re guessing, tucked inside the yellowed pages of an old book. The book, reeking of mildew, was laying on a dusty shelf in the corner of a creaky barn in rural Western Ontario.
The owners of the barn, which was packed to the rafters with antiques, collectables, old furniture and miscellaneous junk, were giving everything away.
We were on our way to Point MacGregor Provincial Park when we saw the hand-painted sign at the side of the road. My husband turned the van around and waited with our sleeping toddler while the older girls and I poked around happily inside and thunder rumbled outside.
He should have been at a canoe race that weekend. He loves paddling.
But he decided to spend time with us instead.
He had been away a lot that month already, and pulling long hours at work. His sacrifice on this particular weekend, though not requested, meant the world. You see, it was my birthday. And while my husband and I don’t tend to make a big deal about our birthdays, I would have felt a little lonely on my own with the kids.
So, somehow, we found ourselves driving to Lake Huron, all five of us. A spontaneous road trip.
Our first stop was the barn. Then we picked up birthday cake to eat on the way. Then we went to my favourite used book store. Then to the bakery across the street.
And then, in the middle of the street…
He was huge and covered with thick, green algae. He was sunbathing right on the road, oblivious to the occasional passing car. Once again, my husband turned the van around so we could investigate.
We stared at that big old snapper for a while, trying to figure out how to move it out of harm’s way. But how do you rescue a snapping turtle? Little did we know, we were going to find out that evening.
When we arrived at the beach, low, dark clouds were moving in. The girls splashed around in the water as the air became cooler and cooler.
And then the heavens broke and spilled sheets of rain.
We ran to the van, soaked to the skin and laughing, and passed around slices of cake while the rain beat on the metal roof.
With nowhere else to go, we decided to check out the park visitor’s centre. To our delight, a wildlife rescue was setting up for a live animal show. They brought out a saw-whet owl, the one from the phone commercials. They taught us about turtles and how to carry them off the road. (Now we know.)
The highlight? A little wolf pup named Maverick.
Sometimes, we need a little spontaneity in our lives. The best memories are the most unexpected ones.
That birthday, almost a year and a half ago now, was the most unexpected, most wonderful birthday I have ever had. We made beautiful memories.
And discovered the cure for asthma.
The Grace-Filled Life Challenge: Go on a spontaneous adventure this week.
And let me know about your favourite spontaneous adventures in the comment section below.