The Springtimes of Our Youth

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According to the birds in the pink-covered trees, spring has sprung. But they’re just dumb birds, what the hell do they know? I wore a sweater this morning.

Seriously, I’m writing about the weather. It has come to that.

Also, I’m writing about birds and how they aren’t nearly as smart as they think they are. At the end of the day they all taste like chicken.

The thing about spring that makes it worth mentioning is that a young man’s heart turns to baseball. However, my heart is old. It pumps coffee and bourbon and stops on a dime at least twice during every greasy dinner. My boys’ hearts have turned to other flights of fancy, and our family schedule has filled with stress accordingly. The fun kind.

Every week we have multiple sessions of gymnastics, swimming, Spanish, soccer, and piano. Plus school, homework, and random PTA crap. Frankly, it’s time-consuming.

I’m going to need a bigger DVR.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have the boys involved in any number of activities. When I was a kid such options weren’t readily available to me. Sure, there was baseball, 4-H, and Cub Scouts, and I know that each took a commitment of time and money from my parents, but I didn’t know it then so I didn’t appreciate it. I make sure my kids know. They are living in the now.

For the most part my sunny days (and there were a lot of them growing up in Arizona) were filled with the same activity: Outside.

We had adventures in the desert and the dry riverbed. We rode in huge tractors and jumped for hours in the itchy awesomeness of raw, freshly-picked cotton. Our playground stretched, literally, for miles. We traveled by bike and horseback. We packed heat (BB guns) and strapped knives on our belts (official Rambo survival edition with matches in the handle). There was always a pack of neighborhood dogs panting loudly at our side.

I look back fondly and I can’t help but wonder, what the hell were our parents thinking? Then I remember they didn’t have NCIS and CSI:Wherever back then. They were ignorant of the dangers that we surely faced.

It is spring. My boys and their time are both accounted for. Their schedule is full and tiring. On the weekends they put on their coats and their gloves, strap sticks to their sides and face the well-known.

Sometimes we walk to the edge of the neighborhood where the forest waits, and with it the lure of danger and adventure. The woods stretch, literally, for miles. The boys run around bends and down paths forgetting that we are, relatively, far behind them. They are alone and they are free. Their dogs pant loudly at their side.

There are echoes and there is laughter. It is the song of spring, and the sound of moments to remember.

The birds pale by comparison.

 

A version of this post first appeared in 2011 on DadCentric

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