Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Seasons of Squires

Squires Lake was one of the first hikes I ever did; long before I had any aspirations of backpacking. It was an easy place to drive to, bring the dog, and hope to discover a beaver with the kids. (Although on one trip a woman told me how her dog was attacked by one! So be wary of letting your pup swim in the upper pond!)
From my ancient hiking scrapbook. Am I really wearing earrings?

Since then I've gone in every season--sometimes with my dog, sometimes alone, sometimes with others. As the seasons have come and gone, suddenly my kids have grown, my dog's time is almost up, and I've become a Grandma. So lately it's my go to place to take my grandson, Liam. 
First time out hiking with Grandma!
Still has the eyebrows..."Why you doing this to me Grandma?!"
"Are we having fun yet?"
I know he may look like he'd rather have his toenails ripped out than be hiking, but he came out of the womb with that expression! He may appear grumpy; but trust me, he's just taking it all in. I know that he loves his walks with Grandma, and it's hard to think of much else that makes me happier than listening to his sweet babbling as we chug along. I fantasize about the days when he's old enough to come on an overnight trip; when we can talk all night and I'll actually understand what he's saying.
In the middle of these imaginations, I almost always think back on that day he came out of the womb, with that intense gaze of his, and it makes me teary every time. It was a life changing day for me. As the mother-in-law of my poor laboring daughter-in-law, I felt so confused about my did I fit into the picture? I certainly didn't expect to be in the room when Liam was born. But somehow I found myself in the thick of it--as the designated photographer even! And then the big moment...head's out and we are waiting for his first breath in this world. Except something was wrong...the cord was wrapped a couple times around his neck...he looked blue. Instead of air going into his lungs, I swear that all the air went out of that room and none of us could breathe. Something changed in me during that minute (maybe even only seconds...felt like an eternity) because I suddenly realized with clarity that life is never a given. Every moment is a gift, and I don't want to ever take even one breath for granted again; even though I know I unfortunately will.
 Rainy Squires years ago with a friend
And so, this memory takes me back, but then it squarely places me right back in the present moment. It reminds me that I might never have even gotten the chance to have this time with my grandson, and so I want to drink it in. I don't exactly feel guilt about reaching ahead in hopes for more future adventures with him, but I know I can't hold tightly to them; the future is unknown. What is ahead, and what lies behind are not now--and now is where it's at! Now is listening to the snow crash down from the trees and getting to hear Liam's laugh of surprise. Now is watching the delightful little chickadees hop about, and the sun rays dappling the forest path. Nothing else can be the present moment; each second is like the falling snow flakes...unique, and never to come again.
and winter
I hope for more seasons on Squires Lake Trail--moments with my kids, my dog, my friends, and most of all my beloved Liam. Although, I'll need to buy a new baby backpack, because I forgot to put mine back in the car and somehow managed to run over it as we were leaving. I never said all the moments are good ones. ;)
Frick...anybody selling a child carrier?