Our days with Dad hold a special place in my heart. The memories of frantically catching butterflies with a net for a school project (I can't help smiling, thinking about how ridiculous I must have looked jumping around), pulling weeds, getting cuts from pesky bougainvillea hedges, pruning, raking, escaping from wasps a dozen times and then finally getting stung (why me?), catching guppies in a pond countless times, shoveling dirt, walks through the mountain with two dogs named Chief and Bandit (some of the coolest dogs I've met), climbing trees like monkeys, funeral services for rolly pollies, and the list goes on.
Lately though, my days at work with Dad have grown sparse. My brothers and I used to squeeze into his truck nearly everyday during the summers to work (and play) with him. However, as we've grown older, our summer days are usually filled with other activities. However, during this past winter vacation, I finally decided to tag along for a day with Dad and Nathan.
The mountain air was delicious. After snapping photos of the lemons, I ran for the strawberry plants I remembered were freshly planted from my last visit. Oh, they had grown! I searched the leafy plants and found a few succulent red gems -- the sweetest, juiciest strawberries I ever tasted -- but maybe that was just the glory of plucking the fruit for myself speaking.
Nathan snapped a few shots of me next to the pond I had as a child so often peered into in search of a shiny-tailed guppy. Once I had possessed three bowls full of them, and one of the female guppies surprised us by having over ten babies which I tended to. Sadly, many of them were eaten (by their own mother, horrors!) but a few did survive and eventually were placed back into their proper home.
The willow tree was swaying in the wind, it's graceful branches stirring my inner love for Montgomery. I almost saw Anne Shirley reading a book of Virgil under it's shade. Dad and Nathan finished loading the truck with dead branches. Nathan found a birds nest and kindly posed for the winning shot.
On the way home, we stopped by a huge cliff on the side of the mountain. Nathan and I climbed down the incline and found ourselves next to a peaceful stream which fell off into a tricking waterfall. I had a slight moment of hysteria as I looked down the precipice -- I wandered to the left and started shouting out to Nathan as I stood on a patch of grass -- "There could be a hole in this grass! I'm going to fall through! There's a hole!" I blindly stumbled through the surrounding danger zone, in a state of laughing and lightheadedness. I finally came back to the safe zone. My mind calmed.
The stream's water was icy cold, the bubbling laughter it created made me ache with a desire to have such a stream by our home. The grass was green, the shrubs content. The rocks smoothed by the water's flow. A peaceful bower for the weary and heavy laden. I could have sat there for the rest of the day, but it was time to go back. We left the fairy land of beauty and drove home.
Days with Dad soften my heart.