Pin It I must preface this post with the message that this experience occurred some four months ago. However, due to other things far more pressing in my life, it became lost—buried in a sea of documents on a laptop—only to be rediscovered again tonight as I was poking around in search of something else.
I present it now—four months late. But as the saying goes, it is better late than never.
So, please imagine that I am down in Hurricane, Utah at the present moment…summer is just beginning and a whole lifetime of adventures await…
The light knock sounded on the door of the ‘yellow room’ this morning; I say the yellow room because that is the color of the room which I’m staying…bright, and cheery. Like a dear friend which eagerly awaits your arrival; I could say the same of the Monk Family—much more like my own family than simply friends, but I digress.
The knock sounded followed by the nervous voice, “Are you awake?”
The door cracked open just a portion; enter ten year-old Tanner, youngest mancub of said ‘family,’ asking if I would be willing to take a hike to the local canyon, ‘Three Falls.’
He’d been asking since yesterday, so within ten minutes said boy and I were hiking along the street, backpacks and water bottles in tow, ready to conquer not just one or two, but all three falls of the valley at road’s end.
As we came to the mouth of the ravine, the sun shone in some places, while not in others. The aqueduct built years before for the overflow of water from the ravine was slightly reminiscent of fortress battlements.
“I sometimes come up here and pretend that this is a castle,” Tanner admitted. “I imagine that I’m defending it from invaders like Orcs.”
We made our way up the steep hillsides littered with loose stones and precarious ledges as we ascended the way to three falls.
“I like it here,” Tanner said as we stopped for a water break sometime later. “It’s quiet.”
As if in reply to his words, the lamenting wind began to blow through the jags of stone and heave a long, melodious sigh—as if hopeful to whisper its secrets to those with ears attuned to listen.
As we climbed higher, the sun rose above us, waxing everything over with its warm rays. When I climbed down to a certain part of two falls to investigate its safety, Tanner waited at the top. As I made the arduous climb back to the promontory where Tanner awaited I made a request, “Tanner…I need some music to help me climb. Give me a soundtrack, boy!”
To this, Tanner promptly started to belt out:
“Right now you can hardly breathe…
But you can do it just.know.that.I.believe…
Then that’s all you really need
So come on, I’ll make you strong…it’s time to turn it up, GAME ON!”
Sung like a true ten year-old who loves High School Musical.
And with that brief harmonious interlude, we continued on our venture up the desolate gorge. As we walked, Tanner asked, “I was wondering, when do people go through puberty?”
Thinking that this was really a subject best broached by parents, I decided to give only the barest of answers to questions he might ask, and deflect the rest of them to his mom and dad.
“It’s different for everybody,” I said. “For some people, it starts when they’re ten or eleven, for others it’s even later like fifteen or sixteen. However, it usually starts somewhere around twelve.”
He quietly mulled this over for a minute or two as we trudged along.
“You know why I’m excited for puberty?”
I had to be honest, I had no idea. I couldn’t remember being excited about anything when it came to puberty when I was a kid; nothing that is unless you counted getting taller.
Tanner leaned in close and whispered, “Sideburns.”
“Yeah,” he rubbed his cheeks with the back of his hand. “I’d like to have some sideburns.”
Once again, the mancub surprises me