Friday, August 2, 2013

Take a Hike!

Last week we enjoyed "Fun Friday" on a Wednesday, which was a double bonus, since Friday turned out to be such an amazing and memorable day.  On Wednesday, we headed to our favorite little hiking spot near Monticello, and explored the many sights and sounds of the trail on a gorgeous mid-summer morning.

 Although it was both hotter and more humid than we'd expected, the morning left each of us feeling refreshed and refueled.  I love that about a hike.  I love how much we all love to hike, to explore, to listen and watch and seek.  I loved listening to the older boys encourage Pax to keep going, to push forward, telling him what a good hiker he is, offering to carry his walking stick for a bit.  This hiking, it's our thing.  It's our family thing, but it's also the thing my kids do with Mom.  Mother Nature. 

Walking behind my sons, I found myself envisioning Fun Fridays in 5 or 8 years, wondering what trails we'll hike, what mountains we'd climb... what they would look like then, teenagers towering over me; how they would sound then, encouraging each other or perhaps egging each other on to climb faster, higher; maybe goading their mom into a race to the top; how it would feel not to hold back... how it will feel to legitimately lose the race.
Brought back to the present moment by the weary three year old wanting to be picked up, I savored this fleeting time of being able to carry a too-tired boy who snuggles against me and tells me he loves me, his voice a flood of relief and gratitude in being held and carried -how good he feels in my arms, how his capable, independent, determined self still seems so tiny as I cradle his small frame easily against my shoulder.

I savored their excitement in discovering dozens of fish just below the surface, of watching a small family of ducks glide effortlessly across the pond, of examining downy feathers in the grass. I savored the reflection of the sky in the pond's surface, a double exposure of the day's brilliant beauty, and the human beauty of my sons.
After our hike, we explored the ins and outs the huge tulip poplar stumps, hollowed out and sturdily positioned near the base of the trail.

 The stranger-mom who took this picture - we shared a moment.  I don't even know how to describe it, except without exchanging many words on either topic, I seemed to know how much she needed and was looking forward to her run with her daughter in the jogging stroller; and she seemed to sense that I was wanting a picture with my kids, a memento of one of our best Fun Fridays of summer.  We recognized ourselves in each other, perhaps.   

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