On our recent family pack trip, I recorded this snippet of our youngest granddaughter, Eleanor, moseying up the trail behind her Dad. He had just set her on the ground freeing her from the constraints of her carrier and freeing him from the weight and gyrations of a two year old toddler.
I always travel at the back of the group, a position I increasingly enjoy. The llamas and family members filling their various roles and assignments are ahead of me. I know where everyone is and that as long as we are moving, there are no issues. I can relax and reflect. So as Eleanor walked between Nate and me I could spy on her carefree nonchalance and discovery while mentally revisiting the trips where our kids and now our grandkids have all experienced the same wilderness moment Eleanor was moving through.
Our kids have made it known that these trips were important in their lives and in growing to adulthood. They want the same experience for their children and it is gratifying for Dianne and me to have this validation of at least one of our parenting decisions. As long as we can walk, we will honor this request and serve this tradition.
For me, it goes beyond a parenting tool or tradition. It returns me to the perspective that life is cyclical and not linear. It’s not about arriving, accumulating, controlling, achieving, being all things avant-garde and always moving forward. It’s about being a part, responding, accepting, seeking, serving, leaving a worthy legacy and example, preserving through temperance and stewardship.
In our culture and society it’s easy to lose sight of this cyclical perspective with its unrelenting push to live in linear, even terminal fashion. But when you return to the wilderness from which life emanates, the cycle becomes crystal clear and calls you to serve the role you’ve been assigned in the cycle.
I’m most thankful for the wilderness and this moment following Eleanor.