Our family loves to hike. We've covered a lot of territory over the years. Although we've been in various states and surrounded by different environments, one thing that has been fairly consistent in our family hikes is that we follow a path so we know where we're going.
Sometimes the path is narrow and the scrub brush scratches against our legs.
Other paths are wider and we can walk side-by-side as we enjoy a little extra space.
As we set out on a new path, there's a palpable buzz of excitement.
We each have an idea of what we might see or experience on a particular path.
We rely more on maps for new paths we haven't explored before so that we know the way.
On popular trails, we will pass people that are returning from the other direction and we may ask about the path ahead.
Is it a "good" trail?
Are there "good" sights to see?
We have some interesting chatter on our family hikes. Discussions range from Marvel movies to favorite meals to photosynthesis.
Hiking evokes a certain cadence of communication.
Our stories unfold with the rhythm of our dusty boots marching down the path.
On our uphill climbs, we lapse into companionable silence as we navigate the steep terrain.
We enjoy a collective deep breath at the top as we pause to enjoy a new vista our climb has exposed.
More often than not, I'm the caboose of our little hiking train.
I have time to reflect on all kinds of things, but usually veer back to focus mainly on the souls before me as they're heading down new trails.
I pray for their growing bodies and minds. I pray for their relationships, both current and future.
I'm thankful for the leadership their father provides for them.
I fill up on the camaraderie that our hiking experiences evoke in these father-son adventures.
I'm grateful for hikes in God's glorious nature that provide opportunities for our family to knit back together just a little tighter. Our hikes gradually fuse into a family collective of happy memory fibers that have weaved through the boys' various developmental stages and threaded deeply into their childhood narratives.