For youngsters there are many safe, easy and immensely pleasurable opportunities: the ecstasy of water, the heated pool, teasing and splashing away an entire morning or afternoon; the gentle entry into one of the lakes, a sand beach, endless play with sand or water or both for the really young. Parental patience and the blessings of the sun give kids a sense of protection and freedom at the same time. There is also an opportunity to practice mastery: swimming, canoeing, bicycling; and then the more serious, but still pleasurable work of learning tennis, and even golf—with instruction and no pressure.
But the greatest pleasure for the young may be in encountering and learning from the wildness in the woodlands that surround us. And there are many naturalists here to teach us about the natural glories that abound here. The night sounds are so prominent because there is little light except the moon. Those insistent August insects are kids, (not cicadas). Perhaps an owl, or a whippoorwill, maybe a coyote. On day hikes, along the leafy tunnels of the trails (twenty miles of them), there are hundreds of species of plants to learn about—ferns, the native flowering plants in spring, ground pine, ground cedar, mosses and lichens, pitcher plants by the lakes; the great trees, the lakes glimmering through the shadowed forests. And there are so many birds—the pileated, the kingfisher, even an occasional great blue heron, osprey or eagle, hundreds of migrating warblers, bluebirds on the golf course. Ours is a world of beauty and mystery, and yes, wildness, which we can walk within, which we can name but not tame. And if we are lucky, in mid-May, we can see floating like a faint blue liquid across the forest floor the blue ghost fireflies. There is so much wonder here, and so many knowledgeable people to help us know it.