By David DeWitt
Happy Crag Day! Finn said, descending from the bedroom upon awakening.
The day before, he’d expressed wanting to hike to the rock formation in a nearby preserve.
The forecast had promised perfect weather.
There were doubts about making it all the way to the top. It was a long hike for Finn and he likes to take his time.
So when he began to document the wildlife on a piece of construction paper he had folded several times to create a section for each entry, I was pretty certain we might be turning back before reaching the peak.
“When you see or hear something, you have to write it down,” he instructed each of us, like a mini forest ranger.
“Oh, look at the bird’s nest,” Erin said, noticing an unusually large one.
“Yep! Have to write it down!” he said bossily.
He eagerly dug for the pencil and paper in his pocket.
He stood there appearing to scribble for several long moments then said, “How do you spell bird’s nest?”
“Yep, it’s gonna be a long hike,” I thought to myself.
But very soon after that there was surge of energy and we were covering more ground than usual. It was a little slushy from melted snow but it didn’t really slow us down.
There were actual stretches of silence. Nothing but nature.
At his age, moments of silence are few and far between. From sun-up to sun-down there is a seemingly endless narration accompanying his play sessions.
But there we were tromping our way through some tricky passages with very little commentary.
One motivating factor may have been the lunch Erin packed.
“I can’t wait to get to the top” Finn said breaking the silence at one point.
“To see the view?” I said.
“No. To eat!” he said.
But pretty soon it didn’t really seem to matter if we made it to the top.
There was more wildlife to document, unusual trees to climb and a little trouble choosing the perfect hiking stick. The day seemed complete just by us being there. Maybe it was because it was the first warm break in a brutal winter. Or we might have been feeling the wake of the recent events in Parkland, Florida. Maybe it was all of the above.
Whatever it was, it was the right combination of sunshine, togetherness and semi silence.
We navigated our way up out of the forest and onto the rocky top and there was a sense of satisfaction but not so much of surprise. It was kind of like: “Of course we made it to the top. It’s that kind of day.”
We didn’t need to reach the peak. So somehow it seemed easier to get there.
Our way back down was easy and uneventful. More nature documentation. Eagles. Or were they vultures? There was an especially crooked tree.
But nothing stood out as the highlight. The highlight was the day itself.
Because…well…it was Crag Day.