July always makes me feel like summer is really, truly happening. School has been out for a few weeks, temperatures steady and seem to become more predictably warm, (though hahaha this weekend is wet and rainy - go figure!). 4th of July weekend really kicks the summer in to high gear with parades, BBQs and weekends on the trail, beach or lake. This morning while hiking with my husband, I noticed the leaves have lost their lime green spring-ness and are turning a more mature shade of deeper, Kelly green. Not quite the ultra-rich greens of late summer yet, but slowly working their way towards it.
This steady growth and development in the forest couldn't help but lead me to reflect upon my son's recent growth as well. S, (not sure why I feel the need to protect his name but for some reason I do), is 4 going on 5, and growing like one of those hidden acorns or maple seedlings that pop up in your garden right before your eyes. I know all moms think their kid is smart and awesome and gorgeous and I'm certainly no different. Sometimes I think I actually forget he's a kiddo because he's so articulate and conversational, so mature. But in an instant, he can so easily remind me that, like the green of the forest, he has a ways to go before the next season.
This week was his first experience at day camp. He's been going to daycare since he was 6 months old, and this past year started one day a week at a wilderness preschool. So I thought we'd give a week of camp a go this summer, you know, given that he's so mature and all. Let me tell you, that drop off was one of the hardest days I've had in ages! For us both, really. It was a full on showdown, from the moment he woke up. The previous week was camp this and camp that, I'm such a big boy, and I can't wait for Chipmunk Camp! Yet come the morning of - no freaking way was he going without a fight! I was required to be sweet, patient, bribing, coercive, demanding. And then, after an hour and a half's worth of attempts at a jolly, all-smiles drop off, I left my 4 year old in the middle of the forest with perfect strangers, kicking, screaming and tightly held while I not so narrowly escaped to head off to work.
So here's the thing - and I know you won't be shocked by this - he survived! (and so did I - barely). He cried and writhed like a baby, (and so did I - probably me more than he did.) I won't deny that that walk up the hill to my car was simply wretched, with his wailing literally echoing in the forest and tears poring down my face. But at the end of it all, I couldn't be prouder because he stayed all day, making the best of it, and even went back the next day with no fuss. All week as a matter of fact, there was no fuss nor tears as he blew kisses to me while standing on an old tire each time I drove away. The lovely group of teachers from ReTribe took my kiddo under their collective wing while he stretched and grew and matured a little more this week. And so we both crept a little closer to his 5th birthday and my 41st. And so we waded through a week of mid-Summer and new experiences while the leaves of the Hogback Ridge grew greener and darker. Whether or not we're a little wiser for it all, who can really say, but I know for certain I wouldn't have it any other way.
Hi, my name is Ali Dawson Gibson. I'm a healer, a singer and a teacher. This Blog, 52 Weeks of the Ledges, is from 2016 when I hiked this awesome Bristol Ledges trail once and week and shared my experiences. Enjoy!