The children start howling at the sky, fall over each other, rush out of the river when it comes. Thunder cracks like a whip above and almost instantly clouds gather over us in judgement. The ping and sizzle of cold rain puts out the fire and we fill our arms with camp chairs, towels, and a half-written story of a summer day on a beach. It’s time to go home.
This morning, when the sun had first called us, you helped me slice an onion for the sandwiches. You chattered at me a mile a minute, peeling each layer back until it was just you and your heart perched on the stool like a little bird who is hungry to fly. You said you wanted to be a hunting guide just like dad. You knew there was adventure waiting for you there. You knew that you would one day live the stuff of dreams.
And here you are now, the only child who is not rushing for the trail through the woods. You stop in the middle of the chaos and stand there, as if you are willing time to stop, while the others screech and holler and run amok. You look straight up, close your eyes, offer your face to the rain. You look like your father right now.