My electronic inbox overflows with entreaties to make Father’s Day purchases at deep discounts. Shopping is not on my mind.
Even my reliably soothing farm game saddens me with a “Father’s Day Quest” in which a brown-eyed, raven-haired girl pops up with bubbles of text recalling what her father has taught her, like looking at stars through a telescope and how to drive. (It was I who had to ride shotgun for all of those hours with the daughter who just got her license.)
Last Father’s Day, not long after Jim’s death, I took the children who were home with me on the kind of family hike Jim frequently took with us. He would clamber with his long stride up a mountain with our youngest jabbering musically in a baby carrier on his shoulders as the other three zig-zagged ahead, happily crying out “This way!” when they spotted the painted triangles which marked the trails.
Clusters of us would link and unlink hands, helping each other over boulders and down slippery stretches. Jim, who always carried the lion’s share of the weight, though it never seemed to burden him, would dole out water bottles and other supplies. Small hands would grab fists full of his special gorp mixture. (Despite the seemingly indiscriminate grabbing, the M & Ms and cashews always would go first.)
Of course this time, without Jim, I got us a little bit lost on the way up to the trail head.
When we finally arrived, all the trails we ordinarily took were obstructed by fallen trees, casualties of catastrophic spring storms.