The concept of the Great Rivers Greenway project is to “raise awareness of the natural beauty found in the region’s many rivers and streams and to reconnect residents to the primary natural features…the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.” The completed GRG will include more than 600 miles of trails with more than 45 different greenways connecting existing and planned parks in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County (where we live). Eventually, St. Clair and Madison Counties in Illinois will be included and the GRG will encompass the entire St. Louis metro area.

Last week, Ted and I biked the Dardenne Greenway that follows Dardenne Creek and connects to the Cottleville bike trails. Is it any wonder we’re enjoying the greenways? Think how beautiful these trails will look in a few weeks when the leaves change color.

A lake view of a subdivision in Cottleville.
Near the meeting point of the bike trails and the greenway at St. Charles Community College.
Dardenne Creek–the namesake of the Greenway.
An entire field of Queen Anne’s lace.
One of the many quiet and shady stretches of the greenway.

Ted’s and my e-bikes have a bluetooth connection to an app that has GPS and shows us a map of wherever we’re biking; can diagnose mechanical problems; and keeps a history of our rides. It even lets us “share” our rides with others. Here’s where we went today.

A Michigan school district is trying something new (?) to increase the mental abilities of elementary school students. The district has created a “sensory path” in one of the hallways in the school building to give the students a “brain break” from their classroom work.

The sensory path was created by the school district’s occupational therapist and its speech-language pathologist to “help students get out of their seats and stay active during the school day.” Students can jump hopscotch boards, use their hands or feet to follow spots on the floor (aka “Twister”?), follow circles on the wall, or do wall push-ups along the sensory path. The sensory path is based on results of studies indicating that movement increases blood flow and heart rate, which increases mental ability. (That’s news?)

Back in the day when I was in elementary school and roller-skated about 300 feet uphill to school on nice days, the school day ran from about 9:00 a.m. until about 4:00 p.m. (It was a long time ago. I don’t remember the exact times.) There were about 50-60 students in the eight grades in the building, and we arrived 15-20 minutes before school started so we could play with our friends outside until the bell rang. We had a 30-minute morning recess and a 30-minute afternoon recess, during which we were required to go outdoors all year unless it was raining or extremely cold (on a scale of Wisconsin winter weather).

During our 60-minute lunch period, some kids went home for lunch (less than a 5-minute bike ride) and others ate their lunches in the classroom. We ate quickly, because we wanted to be included in the outdoor games that filled the rest of the lunch hour. The games were kid-organized, not teacher-directed, so they were what we wanted to do. By the time recess and lunch were over, we were more than ready to sit in our seats and rest while we studied. Our blood was flowing nicely, and our hearts were beating quickly enough to make us sweaty.

We didn’t have a sensory path in our school, but I’ll bet we had good brain stimulation and a lot more fun playing outside with our friends for two hours every day.

In my post about our day at Gornergrat, enjoying picture-perfect views of the Matterhorn, I included an error in my description of this photo.

I mentioned that our lunch-time waitress told us there is a footpath in the snow on the right that leads to a climber’s hut behind the rocky ridge. I thought the dark line in the snow just below the exposed rock was the footpath. Thom, a mountain climber, told me that line is actually a bergschrund–the high point of a glacier where it separates from the rock above.

I admit, I was surprised that a footpath could be seen from such a distance, but I figured it must be a wide path, and I’d never heard of a bergschrund, which makes a lot more sense. According to our waitress, there is a footpath, but it’s not that visible dark line. Thanks, Thom. I like learning new things from my readers.

Over the years, Ted and I have had family pictures taken by Olan Mills, Sears, the church (for the directory), and me (for Christmas letters). After the kids grew up, moved away from home, and had families of their own, it was hard for all of us to be together at the same time. Neither Ted nor I can remember the last time all of our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren were together with us–if ever.

As we planned our 50th anniversary celebration, Ted and I decided that the only gift we wanted was to have our entire family together at least once in our lifetimes. We gave the kids three years’ notice and asked them to plan accordingly. They did, and it happened. To record the event, we scheduled a professional photo shoot. The finished portraits were delivered and hung yesterday.

Thom and Katie agreed to take photos of Ted and me with our children and with our grandchildren. Here are the prints from Thom–also visible on the piano in the picture above.

Ted bought me a bouquet of a dozen pink and white roses. The pink ones opened normally, but the white ones kept opening, and opening, and opening, . . . They were huge! Out of curiosity, I measured them with a ruler. The pink ones were a normal 2.5 inches, but the white ones were a little more than 5 inches in diameter. They are definitely the largest roses Ted has ever brought me. I guess his love for me is still growing.