All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable which makes you see something you weren’t noticing which makes you see something that isn’t even visible. ~Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
Kyle amazes me, he really does. Some days he is still the kid I’ve always known, maybe too much like a kid, and other days, he’s such an independent little man. It’s really weird to say Kyle is independent. He’s never really exhibited self-supporting behavior, ever. Kyle has always been the type of the child that needed someone to join him in doing any activity, even watching TV and sometimes playing. Sometimes he entertains himself, but he usually likes the social activity. When he was really little, it was even difficult for him to walk back the hallway without someone by his side. Nope, independent and Kyle have never been synonymous. That is until recently.
Two weekends ago my family, including the dogs and my cat, went to Parker Dam for a short weekend get away. My sister couldn’t make the camping and fishing weekend of fun, but there will be a next time. Mom and dad got there really early Friday morning. When I mean early, I mean early. Mom said dad had her up at 3:00 am to leave early and get a head start on the day. Not me, I had to pick Kyle up off the bus, before heading out and joining up with the parents, and Seven and Scooby.
Friday night was pretty uneventful, except for Storm. She worked her way out of her harness, twice, and made a break for the woods. The night went perfect when she came back unscathed. In fact, she ran around all weekend, going in and out of the woods along side our campsite. I was afraid of a coyote or owl or some other wild beast getting their claws in her fluffy middle, but to keep her caged up would be inhumane. She loves being in the woods, much like myself. Sometimes it’s hard to let go without hovering or controlling, but it’s a part of life.
And so my story begins, at 4:00 am on Saturday morning. The time dad felt was the appropriate hour to get everyone up to go fishing. Yes, it was still pitch black and for some reason he wanted us to have our hooks baited before we drove down the road, maybe a half a mile to our fishing site. All the while we were getting ready, Storm got out of the camper and was running around, jumping and leaping for joy. She was like Houdini.
As we started fishing and getting our bearing straight, basically rubbing the sleepers out of our eyes and realizing we are dealing with little hooks attached to our four pound fishing line, something changed. As I looked around, the sun rose over the misty still water, and as I was standing in the crisp morning air, life seemed peaceful. It felt as if God Himself was squeezing my shoulder as if to say, ‘Things will be fine, all is in My hands.’ And you know what? They were, they are and they will always be. Even more than that, something was changing, was different.
Once dad began pulling a few fish from the undisturbed water, I looked around to see what was so unusual. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Everything seemed normal, and then the fog lifted and I saw it as plain as an early morning. Kyle was fishing alone. It was an interesting observation, a unique sight, a bittersweet moment. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy he went off on his own, yet felt a ting of pain for such a shift in the normal.
At Parker Dam where we fished, there are two different lakes if you will. They are actually one connected by a tunnel under the road that separates them. The same fish move between the two areas. All along, dad who is really the only real fishermen between us, commented periodically to move around if we weren’t catching anything. As he’s always done. At first dad always tells us what bait to use and where to stand, only because he wants us to be as successful as possible. Nothing makes dad happier than to have us out fish, or out hunt him. However, dad is always open to our judgement calls, sometimes. This time I was in a little bit of shock. Kyle was sitting on the bank, of the opposite lake to me and dad, all by himself. I never even noticed the change, even though I should have because up until that point, Kyle was talking nonstop and that sudden silence should have tipped me off of the break in the ordinary. He was quiet. Just sitting there fishing, I think enjoying the moment. At least for that moment.
As I watched Kyle fish with his back toward me, all that popped in my head was the movie A River Runs Through It, when the Brad Pitt character, Paul went off fly fishing on his own for the first time to find his own rhythm. And then I thought, ‘Boy he’s growing up!’ I must say, I am honored to be there for Kyle’s next step in life. After all, I was honored having the 0pportunity of being there when he first rolled over, first pulled himself up, first learned to walk, his first words. Heck I even took him to get his first hair cut, and now his first big movement towards independence. Yes bittersweet! It’s funny, at that moment I also realized the dad in the movie, out fished his sons, just like dad always does with us.
Me, dad and Kyle had a great morning fishing. However, after a few fish under his belt, Kyle decided he wanted to head back to camp. What? By himself? Yes, he started walking toward our camp solo. Dad and I both looked at each other as he crested the top of the hill, past the water, out of our site. In fact, we were both taking bets if he would change his mind and just turn around to come back, or if he was going to complete his journey. Keep in mind, there were boxes of Lego’s awaiting him. So I’m sure that was his driving force. Apparently, he made it to the rangers office, which was about the halfway point. He said he couldn’t remember his way back so he call my mom to come and pick him up. That surprises me because Kyle has a great sense of direction, much like my parents and not like me and Nicole. But he did, and mom came and life was all good while dad and I continued fishing.
After we were done, we drove to a more remote part of the water running into a creek to clean the fish. Dad and I scaled and gutted the catch of the day. It was another moment that I couldn’t help think, this is what dad used to do with Ryan all the time. I was even using Ryan’s knife. It was a great day, and for most people, it was just about to start.
Now to lighten the mood, funny story. When we got back mom was extremely eager to share a story with us. She was already laughing so hard, she could barely tell it. Intrigued, I gave her center stage and my fullest attention. Apparently, when we left at the crack of dawn, mom and the boys went back to bed. Go figure. (sarcasm) Mom said all of a sudden her sleeping bag was pulled off of her and she felt the camper shake and lean to one side. For the record we have a little pop up type of camper with the fold out sides. She said the camper all of a sudden leaned to one side, she heard a thud and it bounced back. Thinking it was us, coming back early and screwing with her, she popped her head up and looked around. Then she noticed Scooby was no longer beside her. She got up to find Scooby at the door, and as she opened it he ran and jumped in the opposite bed. She figured that he was so sound asleep, he somehow rolled out of the side of the camper. The area where the fabric is only pulled down over the foldout bed. I’m guessing the slippery sleeping bag helped his escape. He seemed fine, but he could have seriously injured himself. But don’t let that stop us from laugh historically. We are still cracking up over that story!
We had a great weekend of fishing, sitting by the campfire, walking the dogs, bike riding and hiking through the woods. On one of our adventures via bicycle, Kyle and I were riding through the camp site to get down to a dirt road we found the day prior. Kyle rode up beside me and started singing Jingle Bells! I actually almost ran my bike off the side of the road from both, laughter and from shock at his choice in music. Actually from any choice in music, since he doesn’t like exercise. He was really enjoying himself! That kid cracks me up! One minute he’s showing his independence and the next he is still the small little man sitting in the backseat of my car, in his car seat singing Jingle Bells. He never ceases to amaze me.
Then, he turns around and completely surprises me again! Saturday night, we took turns watching the dogs and walking down to the showers. Roughing it I know! But when there’s a shower available, we’re all about it, especially after baiting hooks with maggots, wax worms, fish eggs and such. As I staying at the campsite with the Seven, Scooby and Storm, through the black of the late evening, Kyle walked back. Alone? Solo? Without fear? Being in a little bit of shock, I said, “Kyle?” just to confirm that it was indeed Kyle I was looking at. He confirmed my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me and then my next question, “What’s wrong? Where’s Gigi and Pappy?” He said they were still at the showers and he wanted to head back. What? Kyle walk in the dark by himself? Granted it wasn’t that far away, maybe 200 feet if that. Again, that kid never ceases to surprise me!
Then to make me question if this was indeed my nephew and not an alien taking over his body, Kyle said, “Go ahead Aunt Heather, go shower, I’ll watch the dogs.” What? Is this Kyle? Kyle Piper? He was volunteering to sit in the dark, by himself (with the dogs and cat), with spotty cell phone service and wait for us to return? Where did my little man go?
A little confused I made sure he was alright with the scenario and I headed to the showers, where I ran into mom. A little confused, as was I a few minutes earlier, she asked me where Kyle was, and who was watching the dogs? I explained the story. Mom basically just said, “Ok?” She hurried herself along with dad, as to not leave him alone for too long. Of course, if anyone would mess with Kyle, Scooby would probably tear the perpetrators face off, but no need to take unnecessary chances.
The next morning we got a little late start leaving around 5:30 am. We are such slackers! (sarcasm) We fished a little again in the perfect morning peace that we experienced the day before. Not staying too long, since the fish really weren’t biting, we started to head back to camp. Dad did stop along the creek to try his hand at the water hole just below us off of the bridge. Once dad almost snagged himself another fish, Kyle was all about getting out his pole again. Please keep in mind all I caught the entire weekend were a few, two and three inch blue gills. The four inch sunfish was my prize. (sarcasm) Kyle did manage to feed us a few trout along with dad’s catch for dinner on Saturday night. Also no contribution from me, which humored Kyle to no end.
After casting our lines a few unsuccessful times, we headed back for breakfast. Dad had some pretzels in the truck, which we were both nibbling on like starving fish ready to be snagged by a hook. Just then Kyle turned to dad and said, “Your eating after you baited your hook? That’s disgusting!” I died! That was such a sincere statement and too funny! Dad just looked down at his fingers, then licked them and put his had back in the bag for more. Yep, typical dad. He is a true woodsman, never getting grossed out by anything and never getting sick by such acts. Of course I was doing the same thing, and it didn’t bother me either.
Kyle is growing up before our eyes. It’s always been happening, but sometimes there are moments that really stand out. That weekend had many of them. I wish my sister was there, even though she always is, even through spotty cell coverage and through stories and pictures and videos.
Apparently we are going back again, this time with the entire family. I sincerely can’t wait! Maybe I’ll catch a fish worthy of eating.