This weekend, my hubby and our son had a date. It was a different kind of date. For one, it didn't involve gaming or movies or computers. Secondly, there would be need for bug spray, sunscreen and lots of water. My hubby was taking our son on his first one day hike in one of the many State Parks around here. What surprised me about this "adventure" as my son calls it, was the origin of the idea. It came from my son. You have to understand that this boy spends most if his time gaming. Mine Craft, Sky-rim, Portal. Single player or co-operative play. That's what he's into. Once in a while, I'll get concerned about his lack of vitamin D and boot him outside. He acquiesces but always with a grumble and a moan. Leave him out there long enough, and soon you'll hear the sounds of a boy immersed in his imagination.
They rose early on Saturday morning. Showered, had breakfast and packed the pack with their supplies for the day. I have to admit to being a little apprehensive about this grand idea. My son has many talents but perseverance is not one of them. This was going to be the furtherest he has ever had to walk. Visions of my hubby having to throw our son over his shoulders to get him home in the evening filled my head, as I wished them well and waved goodbye. Half way into their day, I received a call from our son who very excitedly informed me that he had just seen a snake. "It's so much cooler to see them out here, Mom. Here they actually move. Not like in the zoo!". Indeed! As long as the kept moving away from my son, I didn't have a problem. The rest of the day I found myself fretting a little. They had already encountered a snake, what happens if the run into a mountain lion, or a bear, or even worse, a rabid skunk?!
When the arrived home, my son was full of excited chatter. His words all ran into each other making it hard to understand what it was he was saying. I politely nodded and smiled, and once he left to go "rest his legs" on the living room sofa, I asked his father how the adventure had panned out. He smiled and answered, "good" and started working on editing the photos he took of their time in the woods. What became very clear to me, very quickly - our son had a really great time. He walked over a tree bridge. He climbed a rock face, swung on some vines and saw some of Natures oddities, beauty and eccentricities, up close. My hubby played back one of the videos he had taken of our son swinging on a vine Tarzan style. I was transfixed by the image of this boy/man, his biceps flexing to assist in holding him on the vine, his voice crackling and breaking, as it does at this age, his eyes all lit up with joy and pride. In the face of this boy I was seeing a glimpse of a man.
He had gone out into the wild and faced a snake, climbed, ran and explored. He just was ....