I remember Davey Family Fun Hikes in the forest, to waterfalls. Some quiet and sparkling, others boisterously roaring their joy. Sometimes, they were easy rambles. Sometimes it took a little more effort. It was always worthwhile.
Mom was mostly quiet. My sisters and I vied for position at the head of the group, and were decidedly NOT quiet. If Toby, our alpha–dog blue heeler/border collie mix were with us, he diligently scouted out dangerous things like trees, bushes, and ferns, and made sure we gave him credit for blazing the trail. Especially on that one Father's Day hike we took, where there was more bushwhacking and less trail. (Do you remember, Dad?)
I remember that it was always incredibly green. Even in the in-between times of early spring or late fall. Living at the foot of mountains covered in a luscious deciduous rain forest is one of the perks of Oregon I am homesick for. I hunger for the sight, sounds, and smells of Green that live there.
Lothlorien itself couldn't rival Oregon's woods.
I remember cool pools where we could jump in and swim. Still others where we could walk behind the water, and look out through its ever-changing prism. There are even a few so beautiful, the trails are kept out of reach, and we were only allowed to take in the scenery from a safe distance.
I remember the chatter of birds, bugs, and the water. I always wondered what conversations I would hear if I could understand such speech. I daydreamed that those woods must be what Heaven is like. Or at least Narnia. I remember feeling so close to my Creator, and to the family he placed me in.
I remember Dad's "bear noises," and rolling my eyes when he tried to scare us. I remember jumping out of my skin when he succeeded.
I remember tripping on the occasional tree root because I was too busy staring at the green and gold canopy above me. I remember trying to decide if that bush were poison oak or not – which I have still never had, praise the Good Lord.
I remember being tired in the way you can be only if you've spent a day outdoors, eating picnic food, and making memories with the people you love most.
It's a good kind of tired.
Such wholesome, filling memories I have of summer hikes. Life at its best.