>> Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It was a picturebook fall day; we took a boyfull van on a color tour, out to hike the bluffs at Devil's Lake. We climbed the 300 or so vertical feet up the half-mile trail with one running ahead, one in hand, one on back, and a giant dog at our sides.
We were quite the production.
The trail was narrow and steep; stone steps winding through talus. Short legs and curious hands are no match for weekend hikers on a mission, so we often stepped off to let people pass our slow-going caravan.
Other hikers passed by, versions of an earlier us. A young couple, breezing by carefree; new parents, nervously navigating the terrain with their only baby perched in a metal frame backpack; a relaxed family slowly climbing with a couple of kids, mom and dad playing man-to-man defense. And then there was us - John and I running the Zone.
When did we become such a circus? We are that family I used to gape at before I had kids. The family that simultaneously freaked me out (because they were loud and clamoring and crazy enough to take their kids up the rugged trail) and reassured me (that you can have kids and still get out hiking, camping, enjoying the pursuits that the child-free likely take for granted).
We usually hike and camp during the week, when we have the trails and the lake to ourselves. But on this sunny Sunday in October, we shared the park with the rest of the workweek world. They, a backdrop for a rare glimpse at contrast. Who we are laid over who we were.
The boys tired themselves with the climb and descent, with rocks thrown into the lake and bodies flung from tree stump platforms. The bluffs, the colors and the sparkling lake left me feeling peaceful and centered and happy in the autumn sunshine; and it reminded me who I am - who I was before I became Mama. Reminded me what brought John and I together in the first place.
I hope we are instilling a love for exploration and the natural world in our kids at their young, impressionable ages. I hope they grow to love it like we do and that it fills them up and becomes part of who they are.