Lake and I went for a hike today; with Lady Kitty getting a free ride. Before we set out we studied the map and planned our route. Lake said he wanted to make the longest hike possible of the various trails and loops in the nature conservation near us: to go ninety and hundred miles. I interpreted his intent literally, if not his words. We hiked for more than two hours. Later he denied ever stating he’d like to go on the long version when the 3.5 miles loomed endlessly.
It sprinkled rain on and off throughout our adventure. We were not fazed. The cool damp air was a welcome reprieve from the recent string of hot sunny days. We encountered no one and nothing on the trail: just damp forest smelling freshly of pine, reminding me of my days cruising timber in the Arapaho National Forest of Colorado.
We hiked, sang (The Bear Goes Over the Mountain), and planned for the hot chocolate we’d make when we arrived home. When we got thirsty we licked droplets of water off the snowberry leaves.
Lake said he wanted me to help him do a walking handstand across the living room floor when we got home; after we got home and before the hot chocolate. Sounded like a solid plan and I said as much. Indeed, we managed it later (the specificity helped). Meanwhile, when we paused to take in the peek-a-boo view of the lake I said: “See the lake in the distance? It’s the grey between the tops of the trees.”
Lake said, “ all I see is wite. Wite. Wite. Wite!”
Light? He became more emphatic as I continued to search for his meaning.
“The tolor wite,” he said.
“Aha! The color white. Thank you for explaining that, Lake. I appreciate it so much when you are able to elaborate on the meaning of a word while you’re learning to enunciate. It helps us both to not get frustrated.”
Back at home we read Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping and laughed at her silly communication gaffs. Clear communication feels like such an improbably elusive art sometimes. Today, our rainy day tested our skills and then rewarded us with a magical moment.
A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you, big hiker!