It was one of those kind of days. The kind of day that frequents my neighborhood this season of the year. The morning was chilly, but not too chilly. The first caress of the air encouraged the wearing of a jacket or sweatshirt or such. Then the sun rose more fully; the chill diminished; the covering was peeled away.
Halfway through the morning we hiked across a field, sweatshirt tied about our waist. There was a promise of temperatures later reaching the seventies. The body hinted at the beginning of a sweat. Then we moved into the forest, down a trail covered with a canopy of tree limbs. The shade conspired with the coolness to produce shivers. Sweatshirts again covered the torso.
“This is really cool,” she said as she led the way, pointing to this feature and that. “This is really cool.” Suddenly she stopped, quickly whirled around with her index finger to her lips. The finger left her lips and the hand formed the classic “Stop!” command. I stopped. Slowly the commanding hand formed into a fist but with the index finger extended to direct my attention to a spot fifty yards away where the mother deer stood with her fawn. Again I was silently commanded to stay still; then, to squat alongside her. “Don’t move!” was whispered
I kept quiet. I didn’t move. How could I? This ten-year-old had just commanded the seventy-two year old to squat. I can still squat on command. But once there, I’m there. She watched the deer. I pondered how I was going to stand back up. While considering the options I slowly raised my phone and took several pictures.
The wind shifted. The mommy deer stuck her nose into the air. She sniffed and sniffed again. She and the fawn bolted up the hill until the white of the tails were but pinpoints disappearing into the shrubs.
She jumped up. I sort of fell to one side, placed my hands on the forest floor, and rolled to a standing position. “Oh my, did you see that? She was beautiful. Her baby was so cute. Give me the phone and I’ll text those pictures to Mom. She won’t believe I was that close to those deer.”
The trail started down into the canyon. The deeper we got the more the chill. A longing for another sweatshirt accompanied me. “Are we going all the way to the bottom?” I told her we were. “Great,” she said. “This is cool.”
Before we reached the canyon’s floor she heard the rushing water. “Is that a waterfall?” I told her it was. “Come on. Let’s hurry.” I told her the waterfall had been there for thousands of years and would be there when we got to the bottom. “Okay,” she said, “but I’ll run ahead a little bit. Don’t worry. I’ll wait for you.” I told her to me sure she followed the trail’s blaze marks. “I know; I know. Follow the yellow marks.”
Reaching the bottom, I realized down here it was even more cool. She was sitting on a rock ten feet out into the pond, bare feet in the water, staring at the stream cascading over the cliff in front of her. I was more aware of the spray now dampening my sweatshirt.
“This is so cool,” she said. I instead looked up to the canyon’s rim. She was so cool I had not considered we’d have to hike back up.