One of the benefits of escaping big city life to visit my parents in Oklahoma is the wildlife. Adjacent to my hometown is a big refuge and mountain range, filled with buffalo, longhorns, and other endangered species. We also have a few friends with farms, so the last two holiday seasons we’ve taken Miles to see some horses.
He’s going through a big animals phase right now. All of his favorite books to read are animal-related, and his favorite toys are little animal figurines. We try to satisfy his cravings for all-things wildlife here in Chicago to the best of our abilities, like taking him to Lincoln Park Zoo (even in the dead of winter). But there is obviously only so much we can do.
I really want nature to be something he looks forward to when he visits Oklahoma. It’s definitely something I took for granted growing up there, and it’s one of the things that will contrast the greatest with growing up in a big city. The prairies offer up such unique experiences (including Rattlesnake Festivals – it’s a thing).
I want Miles to own his heritage, just as I’m learning to own it myself. My wife makes fun of me because one of my dreams is to one day own a working ranch (proof). I think that may be part of me trying to recapture my heritage just a bit. Maybe Miles and I can do it together.
We’ve carried on the horse tradition for the past two winters, and it’s amazing to see the contrast between the Miles of 2010 and the Miles of 2011. The contrast is made even more stark considering that this year we went to see a group of miniature horses that my sister keeps. They make Miles look even more like the little boy he’s quickly becoming.
Here’s hoping me and that little boy have many more wildlife adventures to come.