When we arrived home from seeing Play School on Friday and I’d settled Devin for his nap, I went online and registered us both to volunteer for National Tree Day. I had hesitated the day before, but having such a good experience on Friday and seeing first hand that I can function in social situations gave me the definitive push.
On Sunday, we arrived at the reserve close to 10am. From a distance I couldn’t see many people and my anxiety metre started to quiver, but as we approached we were greeted by the very friendly coordinator and set on course. There were small tubes to plant as well as bigger trees, but I opted for the smaller ones so Devin could (theoretically) put them in the ground.
Well, that didn’t really happen. Devin just wanted to dig in the dirt around the big trees, so I let him be and got to work on the tubes.
Every now and then he would wander back and dig a hole for me, or I would call him over if I found a particularly large worm, but mostly he was content to do his own ‘work’ in the loose soil.
Though he was also happy to stack up the empty containers.
We were stopped a few times to have our picture taken for newspapers, too. Devin was mid-snack.
When most of the trees had been planted, we had a sausage break.
Someone had dug up an old phone –
Then I planted a few more trees and fixed some plastic covers while Devin continued to dig. And lucky for him, the plants had been watered while we were eating…
There were not as many people there as I was expecting, which was a little disappointing, but it did mean I had plenty to do and Devin could roam about freely. Eventually we were some of the last ones there, and just as I was gathering our things, I was asked if I would mind staying for a bit to be filmed with Devin for a local news piece. We dug up some of the little trees (actually the very first two I’d planted) to re-enact some of the process, and Devin happily dug with his little shovel and moved where he was asked until he wandered off, wanting another sausage. I was also filmed speaking a little, talking about what it meant to me to help out, but in the end another town from the area was the focus of the story and just a few shots of us were aired.
As we were walking back to the car, the lady who had asked me to hang around spoke to me a bit about Devin, how lovely he was and what a great job I was doing with him, which really made my day. She was there with her husband and kids and invited me to join the nature society that they’re involved with, where they do things similar to what we’d done that day. (Which reminds me, I still haven’t emailed about that.) Everyone there was so lovely – it was just such a pleasant and fulfilling morning. The time flew by and we got home almost two hours late for Devin’s nap, but we’d both had a great time.
The sudden activity and social interaction of that day and the previous ones took their toll on me, though. I could hardly keep my eyes open by 7 that night, and I slept for a total of 12 hours.
And still, I haven’t felt this good in a long, long time.