Vacation is a beautiful thing.
The last time we were here, the boys struggled to climb
the hill behind our hotel. The easy trail took hours
longer than our map predicted--it didn't take into account
frequent stops for whining. Wild berries barely prevented
starvation. Two full sets of seasons have impressed
few changes on this landscape. My sons, like birch
and pine compete for root space, sun, and water.
Like the trees, they are taller now, their growth still
indeterminate. This year their they set the pace;
I lag behind their initial enthusiasm, discover
the hollowed out tree stumps, the charred remnants
of lightening strikes, the entrance to burrows buried
in the moss. They want to know how much longer
to the top. How far they've come. They study
trail markers, argue over which way the arrows point.
A mouse skitters across dead wood, finds its safety
before I can call to them. I pretend to need
a rest break, force them to stop and wait
while I watch the ground where it vanished
following a path the faded blazes never reveal.