Day Fifteen: Harbinger
We were hiking up to Copper Bluffs, out ahead of the others who were waiting for the little one. He wanted to lead the way, just a few feet in front would do. His "sword"—a branch of some sort, or a stalk—slashed violently at ferns and other low-lying obstacles. He moved with an erratic and eager authority that even the dog respected. Nonetheless, there was a brief conversation, less than twenty minutes in, about my knowledge of this route. Specifically, What if we got lost? I appreciated his use of the past tense to put a little safe distance between himself and the idea. Hypothetics.
We won't get lost. I've hiked this trail quite a lot. Don't worry.
Well no. I'm not worried. But. Like. How many times?
Enough to know exactly where it goes and how to get back.
He hacked and tugged at an unlucky salal bush, then scuffed at the tattered leaves. But what if those guys got lost back there? My mom doesn't know this trail; we've never done it.
I'm pretty sure they'll have it figured out. There's only one trail to follow. Christi's with her. And Mckenna. She's done this trail too. She knows the way.
His friend of all eight years. Then it was ok. No one was going to get lost, and so he carried on ahead of me, slashing and leaping, a harbinger of our arrival into the belly of the forrest.
He stopped at a moss covered rock face and combed his fingers through the dense, damp hairs. In the winter, I told him, this whole rock is like a waterfall, so much water pours down it.
Yup. Cool, heh?
But not now?
No. It takes a lot of rain for that to happen.
Yea, he said, seeming to agree, but you know what would be really cool is if there was gold dust buried in this rock. He punched at it with his sword. Or drawings. That would be cool too.
I had to admit, That would be cool.
And then he was off, careening from one stump to another, scrambling along logs, flinging himself from small boulders, both arms bravely swinging through the summer evening air. He tripped once but quickly recovered. I'm ok. I'm ok. He smeared at his pants with muddy hands, huffing, but with no quiver in his voice. I'm good.