Thursday, July 26, 2012

Excerpt from essay I wrote about hiking, fatherhood and you

I've been going through my files and found a wonderful essay, "Leap into the Void," that I wrote in January 2010. It is to be the lead essay in my book "Trails and Trials: Tribulations of Being a Father" in which various hikes I go on with you serve as metaphors or analogs for the insecurities and growth one undergoes in fatherhood.

Other matters have sidetracked me from working on the book, but I have each of the essays outlined; this is the only one that is finished. I plan to eventually complete the other ones. For the moment, though, I'd like to include a bit of it here for you:

We stepped over boulders that diverted the creek away from the cliffside, then headed right up to the wall. I placed my hand upon it, realized how delicate the formation really was as sandstone rubbed off beneath my palm. Wind and rain – though more of the latter than the former in the desert – over millennia had picked holes in the Narrow’s walls, like my hand hollowing out the canyonsides a few grains at a time. I grinned like a child making a new discovery. Up close, the rock really was more gray than white; the gleaming bright walls were another optical illusion. Still, there were plenty of white splotches, or leached calcium carbonate, which water easily had flushed between the formation’s individual sand grains down through the ages.

Kieran pressed against my back, stretched his hand toward the canyon wall. I turned to the side so he could reach it. His fingers ran against the siltstone, and he squealed with delight.

My eyes followed the canyon wall upward past the pockmarks and the barren tops. The moon, as white as the sunlit rock above us, hung motionless in the turquoise sky. Now there would be a hike to take, I thought, a walk on the moon, bounding gleefully at the edge of ancient craters, the stars above sharper than any man had ever seen them before, on a fantastic journey in which humanity finally left its womb called Earth.

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