We packed a picnic and the favoured teddies, pulled on gumboots and headed off for a teddy bears picnic in the woods.
Although it was mid-morning by the time we reached the forest - in the holidays our going-out-preperations are leisurely - there was still a slight haze in the air.
The air was thick and rich, moist and fragrant of growing stuffs. The sound of the stream followed by our side as we walked along to the perfect picnic table for our teddies and us. Littlest was held on my chest in her sling, her warmth and gentle breathing reassuring, her sleeping face perfect, her skin pearly.
Her first trip to the forest, she slept all through it, lulled by the motion as I walked.
The stream that ran beside us made its watery rushing noise and all was still and peaceful but for the whining of the kids. "This is boring. I'm hungry. Are we there yet? I'm so tired… yadda yadda repeat. And then repeat again. On some days they love the walk, studying the stream for wildlife, jumping in puddles, playing with sticks, jumping from behind trees to scare us.
It wasn't one of those days.
We walked until we reach the picnic table, looking out for bunyips, pointing out brilliantly green mosses, animal trails and scats, falls of light on furling ferns, discussing the possibilities of platypuses and echidnas.
At the picnic table, eating our sandwiches, showing the gaudy toy pony the sights, the light fell gently and the noise of the water was a constant as the stream flowed steadily beside us and the children, eating, were at peace.
On the way back, the children ran on ahead of my sister-in-law and I, their tiredness gone with the promise of a playground they love with an extra-special slide at the nearby town. There had not been enough mud to tempt them into play…
And then there was the noise of fierce dogs barking, of children crying. We broke into a trot, calling for the children, going as fast as we could with Littlest in a sling.
When we reached the children they were laughing. I asked them about the dogs, the crying, and they said what dogs? what crying? We didn't see anything.
And it occurred to me we have been tricked by a lyrebird - those perfect mimics. It amused me that I was taken in by a bird. I imagined it hiding in the undergrowth, working out what would most worry us, cause the biggest reaction. I imagined it laughing at us (silently) from its secret place.
Even though we didn't see it, and there's possibly another explanation for the noise, the path is called 'Lyrebird Walk' and it adds to the magic that it's possible we heard one, were thoroughly tricked by one.
Outside, in the green, there is always the possibility of magic - an echidna, a rainbow, a teasing bird...
Going down memory lane, this is the same walk - two years ago (and what happened to Poppet's curls!). Sometimes you really do just need the green.