I like to hike in the calm and quiet of the forest, to hear the birds and the breeze, the crisp crunch of snow underfoot.
You like to hang on your dad, try to throw him off balance, giggle and laugh and throw snow up into the branches above.
I like to keep going and going, just over that ridge, just beyond that bend, just past that stand of trees.
You like to stop and trace pictures in the mud with a stick that you fling away when it no longer serves your purpose.
I like to lift my chin to let the light of the sun warm my face, taking pictures of the view, and insisting that you smile.
You like to make frowny faces because I have insisted that this hike, this one-with-nature moment-to-moment good time, be hiked my way. And my way has simply overcome the will you had for yours.
I watched it drain out of you little by little, starting from the moment I told you to wear boots not tennis shoes, and then insisted you stop splashing in the puddle at the parking lot. I know what is best for you, after all.
I also watched as the way I wanted to experience the mountain became your way of experiencing the mountain. And it simply didn’t work for you, so you didn’t. Experience it. Or enjoy it.
And, to be honest, neither did I after a while, so consumed with anxiety over why you weren’t having a good time, I sapped the good out of the entire time.
Until I saw it. Not my way, but yours. When were you laughing? When had you stopped?
I reached down and lifted a handful of snow up off the ground, balled it between two hands, and threw it, knowing better than to hit you square on; you were still caught in my bad mood. I threw it just to your right; it smashed into the snow and splashed before settling.
You marched on ahead.
I grabbed another. This one went over your head and landed squarely in your path.
You turned around, and in an instant, I knew you thought your dad was the one who’d done it.
I confessed. You picked up a handful, using the cuffs of your hoodie as gloves. Your eyebrows raised, you waited to see what I would do, waited to see exactly what had happened to my bad mood. A test, for both of us.
I picked up a little more snow and threw it just as you pulled back and launched yours.
We smiled and left my way behind.
Your way was best for both of us.
Today is the eighteenth day of the 12th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge (#SOLSC19) hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I appreciate any comments, especially those that
- reinforce writing decisions that work and
- coach into those that don’t.
Think of each comment you leave as a little writing conference we are having together. Come on, make me a better writer today! Thank you!