High Altitude

Dear J-

There is a restless, itchy feeling after you’ve watched too much — TV or YouTube or Netflix or however you’re digesting your video nowadays — without actually getting out and doing something. I agree we need to spend more time outdoors so I try but my body is not always willing. Yesterday I took them on the short bike ride to the park; the day before we tried our hand at hiking and turned around short of the summit and Alpine Pond at the Skyline Open Space Preserve. I hadn’t realized how far (or not far, as the case may be) you had to drive to find yourself in a place that proudly declared no service on your phone, where the twisty roads made themselves abundantly clear by the throngs of bikes — motor and pedal — cruising the lanes.

I worry sometimes that it’s like bottling lightning, hanging out with the kids; I worry that this will be the last day, the last weekend, the last year they’ll want to hang out with me and then I’m surprised when I get no resistance upon suggesting something different. Let’s go on a picnic, I say; you can have chips. Let’s go for a bike ride, I’ll bring snacks. I’m not sure if I’m bribing them or killing them with the promise of prepackaged foods. And then next weekend? There will come a time, right? It’s inevitable, no? Here in the hidden half-lit dawn I’m free to let these thoughts roam and take root when I know they have no business hanging around. Try again. The answer is uncertain.

I had a nice time with them this weekend; the meltdown (pretty spectacular, but maybe that’s just because we were in public) last night was not enough to offset the hike, I think. Both me and my daughter are suffering from a new allergy attack brought on by that, but it was worth it, I think; you climb up a ridge not more than a mile from the parking lot and you’re confronted by a sea of trees stretching out into the misty distance. It’s just … I dunno. We’re lucky, that we have the time to find these places, and that we can do it together. My time off has been more kid-filled now that theVet has resumed her work, albeit on a call-out basis, and that’s no bad thing, I think; I should have done this long ago.



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