I drove towards town a full van of people one early morning. I dropped off dad and conrad up to the left in the hills, then I turned around and took two kids to kindergarten. After that, mom read in the park with a view of the city, and I swam for an hour. We had a car appointment, went food shopping, had lunch downtown, where we walked down from the top of the city, in the increasing heat of sunny June.
We picked Jackie up from kindergarten after lunch, and went home. Our men were still hiking up in the hills, on their last drops of well-rationed water, almost home. They were returning the back way of our neighborhood, through the wilderness and tall grass, and most importantly for them: there were wild flowers everywhere.
After dropping mom and Jackie home, I drove up to the edge of our neighborhood, then walked up through the unruly grass to meet them, with two bottles of cold water. Frankly, I was getting worried for them. They hiked 10 miles on a hot day. Though I was there with the car, They decided to walk home the last km. Fully rehydrated, they seemed energized and quite satisfied with their endeavor.
As I watched them, nearly identical frames and walk, similar white hats protecting them from the heat of the sun, I got emotional. I realized what this visit of Conrad’s family meant to him. He was transported into the young and silly youth. He remembers who he is deep down. Connected beyond words, at home in his dad’s company, both savoring the gift of relating shoulder to shoulder. Hiking. Botanizing.