Archive for kids

The Butterfly Effect

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , on November 19, 2008 by rodzink

The honeysuckles were covered in butterflies…. Swallowtails, I have heard them called…..  the kids….well…er….uh…. Okay… I tried to catch one for the kids….  a beautiful sight, I’m certain… a grown man, chasing butterflies… Often, while hiking, I cannot help but question the existence of many things… the thorns on blackberry bushes…. seed ticks….  Butterflies…..  overlooked,  long-distance migratory creatures. 

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Many years ago, a theory was developed which, in summary, stated that the single wisp of a butterfly’s wing could alter the wind… or atmospheric activity around the globe.  Subsequently, in laboratory studies, the theory was proven…. I suppose. An interesting theory, though… To think that a subtle, and seemingly insignificantly minute wisp of air, could start a reaction. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

In the South, I think we refer to this as “ripples on a pond” from a single splash….  I grew up fishing and frog giggin’… I understand the need to slip into the water without sending alarming waves to the other shore….and.. so I wonder….  what impact… what ripples will these kids make on their ponds….  What of their footsteps?  The paths they choose…. LIke the diverse plant-life of the gorge, I also ponder the existence of these children….. the paths they choose.

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 Meanwhile, we are responsible for filling their minds with the tools they will need…. the ones that they will recall for their own journeys……  love… compassion…. tolerance…patience….. respect… a nurtured conscience. One day, they’ll look back on their experiences and not stumble blindly into their next step.  We may be looking into the eyes of our future doctors, teachers, politicians, writers, construction workers…….  These are the ones that will hike the trails of their youth….  dance around the fires we’ve sparked….  hold the hands of our grandchildren… provide the love of our hearts……  Our time is short…. we have work to do….  hands to hold….. stories to tell…. memories to create. Yes, perhaps I romanticize my responsibility.. perhaps, I just take it seriously…. or.. just wish to ensure they walk through life feeling as though their dad tried with all his might.

Go… change the direction of the winds…. alter the course of a hurricane….

The Passage

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , , , on January 1, 2008 by rodzink

The thick fog began to lift unveiling the ravine, carved by a typically subtle force whose patience ran thin. Once, two decades ago, an unimaginable force of earth, rock and water poured down the mountainside. She rests now. Lethargic. Dormant.
The kids stood at the base of the mountain and peered up into the fog. Eager to explore. Baker strapped on his pack and helped Belle with hers….the law of the trail. It’s on these treks where we occasion rites of passage…. gateways…. leave our marks….take our memories. I stopped to look into the eyes of my children and realized that the three of us are not only making memories but giving them as well. As I walk this earth with them, my steps…actions….words…. are etched into a place where only they may journey. Inasmuch, I will carry them to a place that time cannot tarnish… A place where time’s pursuit is exhausted.
The creek is trickling, yet the green rock challenges each step, forcing us to struggle out of the ravine to the ridge. To our left, hardwood flats and hollows; to our backs, the river…. Everything before us… the wind in the trees….the water… the brow above… I paused to turn around and look back into the valley. To see where we have been…where we began….how far we have come… The obstacles that lie behind are equally important as those that await us. We are blessed with the view, yet reluctant to look back at it.
Baker leads us into a place where rocks seem to simply appear. He climbs with hands…feet…heart… I smile as he turns and offers a sibling’s hand to Belle, who submissively receives it. She leans back as he pulls her. Trust. Loyalty… Commitment.
We reach the West Tunnel..moss covered… out of place. Its origin and purpose a mystery; But here it is, contrasting, yet compromising with the surrounding landscape. The kids sat in the entrance and shared a quick snack…a drink… They laugh and play as only children can. I leaned against a tree and absorbed the sounds around me… Running water…wind…birds…laughter… Contrasting….compromising.
We venture deeper into the tunnel and watch light yield to darkness…sound to silence. Closer, they cling to me beneath each arm as I attempt to pull them closer still…. It’s warm. Quiet…. Belle’s tiny face resting on my shoulder… Tangled hair…. Quiet.

The Tree

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2007 by rodzink

The rumbling idle of the ATVs broke the silence of the damp afternoon. A light mist seemed to simply hover..not fall. Baker slipped on his helmet and stared impatiently at me while Belle and I retrieved the axe from the truck. She climbed on the front of my bike.. then moved to the back.. now, back to the front. Excited.. Little girls.
Twenty years ago, I had set forth on this same trek to find a Christmas tree. The memories are precious. Strangely, each time I journey back to that day, there is yet another different memory. My hope is that my children will do the same as they grow up. Traditions.
I gave Baker the nod and he clicked his Honda into gear. The trail is winding and constantly climbing. To the right, a consistent vista of the valley below. Fields. Creeks.. Houses.. I follow closely to watch his every movement, his choice of ruts, rocks….. He occassionally looks back over his shoulder for reassurance. Perhaps, he’s awaiting approval..or needs the comfort of my being there. He gets both. Today is his first solo trip up the mountain. The point in his life.. my life.. where the grip loosens. Baker.. little boy….little man. He still believes that I am capable of protecting him from all things..little boy… It’s days like this one where I begin to realize that the closer he becomes to a man, the less capable I am.
Neither Baker nor Belle can see them… Angels sit in every bend of the trail. Wings back like an eagle diving into a mountain lake. They watch. The older I get, the more I’ve realized that, although they are waiting, they may not interfere at the exact time of our approval. The kids will learn patience here. Learn to trust… to believe. I grin as I pass them.
Belle leans back into me. Her little body resting against my chest. Her hair just under my chin. She looks up and reminds me… “I love you, Daddy.” Angels.
We arrive a stand of hardwood where the mountain plateaus. The leaves have returned to the ground, allowing us to see deep into the wood. Baker, axe over his shoulder, begins down a shallow hollow where he is certain of a suitable Christmas tree. Strained eyes scan for greenery. Scattered, immature white pines become the temporarily futile object of their search. We need a thick spruce….a cedar… hemlock. I am comforted. I’m celebrating Christmas at this very moment. Our time together. The memories we can create far out lasts…out performs…outlives the gifts they will receive. My gift is simply locked away for eternity; In a place that will not allow it to fade, become obscure…disappear.
Swing the axe carefully, son. Watch out for your sister…. swing….the room was warm…the new tree was modestly decorated with one strand of lights.. Still wet from the wood. Wrapped in my blanket before the tree, Baker..Belle… sleeping. I wonder if they’re still on the mountain.

Down the Gorge

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , , , on December 15, 2007 by rodzink

The canoe split the water, forging a silky path through the gorge. high above on either side, the ledges cast shadowy reflections…dancing images on our proud wake. The wind passed through Annabelle’s hair, whispering the silent praise of the river. She smiled back at me with glistening blue eyes, m ore brilliant than the final descent of a September sun. Ahead, a heron’s wings placed hushed ripples on the water as he crossed, announcing his displeasure of our interrupting his motionless pursuit of prey.
Paddle lightly, Baker. Stay near the bank.
Our destination is around the next point. The upper deck of a boat exposed. The Sunken Treasure Ship… Baker named and explored her previously, dreaming of modern river pirates and hidden fortunes. She had sunk years before and rested firmly on the muddy river bottom. Annabelle anxiously sat up on her knees in the canoe’s belly, preparing to scramble up the side and onto the deck.
We sat. Silent. Across the wide straight, a murder of crows swarmed the treetops until the hawk..finally provoked…succumbed to their nagging caws. Graceful…poerful…confident… she left her roost as the crows gave unenthusiastic chase. Baker commented that he would love to be the hawk. To me… she represented strength..freedom..solitude. Baker simply saw flight.
Suddenly, he was flying… on the wings of an angel… sleep faded… His eyes.. huge.. full of life..and awake.. looked up at me.. grinning.