‘Mama,’ Tijm calls. ‘We are going on safari.’
His rug sack is ready. The binoculars are in, the book of plants, some biscuits. From the handle bar of his scooter the tent dangles.
‘Come on,’ he calls, scooting on.
‘Where are we going?’ I ask.
‘Exploring,’ he answers. ‘To find the waterfall.’
Just before the bridge we turn left, into the wilderness, and the mud.
Tijm gets his binoculars. He peers over the water, then at me.
‘Mama, you are very small. You are very far away.’
‘You need to turn it around,’ I point out. ‘What is far will become big and close.’
‘No,’ he yells. ‘It is right like this. Look, everything looks far away now.’
What can I say? In Dutch we call binoculars “far-looker”. So I nod.
Satisfied, Tijm looks around him. He spots something, far away, next to his foot.
Little flowers, like stars. We look them up in his book of plants.
Linde laughs at the name, speenkruid.
‘For Jasmijn,’ she grins, as speen means dummy.
She has found something too. Little brown balls, in the muddy water.
‘Frogspawn,’ Tijm tells us. ‘We must to take some home. Then we can make frogs. Just like at school.’
‘Maybe on the way back,’ I answer. ‘We haven’t found the waterfall yet.’
‘O. Yes,’ says Tijm and pulls Linde’s hand. I follow, drudgingly, with the buggy through the mud. Tijm and Linde run over the narrow sluice. The buggy won’t fit.
‘Mama,’ Tijm points at a wobbly bridge. ‘That is for you.’
Step by step I stagger over the boards. We have to, as we must find the waterfall. Tijm and Linde found it already. The water swishes over the stones, foaming, and roaring softly. Tijm climbs down, onto the stepping-stones.
Linde reaches out, ‘Mama, help.’
I help her over and look back, to the heavy buggy, and suddenly I do not know how to do this. Yet I do it. I step back, get Jasmijn and park her, behind a fence, as far away from the water as I can.
‘Tijm,’ I order, ‘watch your sister. Make sure she does not get near the water.’
As fast as I can I hop back, from stone to stone, looking back over my shoulder, to fetch the empty buggy. On the way back I look at my feet for just a moment, and when I look back up Linde and Jasmijn are in a tree. Jasmijn is nowhere.
My heart stops and I jump on land.
‘Where is Jasmijn?’ I scream, ‘you were watching her!’
‘There,’ Tijm points, calmly.
A bit further down I see Jasmijn’s back disappear into the park. Safely at the field we put up the tent, eat biscuits and pick flowers for our tea. Jasmijn keeps running away and on the way home Tijm falls in the rivers while scooping up frogspawn.
With wet wellies he screams the whole way home.
‘Mama,’ he yells.
‘Stop it,’ I grumble, ‘are you a tough explorer?’
‘But mama, there is a frog in my wellie.’
We poor it out, not once, not twice, but three times, until we are home and ready for bath.
On my facebook page you can find pictures of our exciting trip!