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I have a hard time deciding if there's a cruel irony to beauty or a lovely prologue to loss. When I feel the hem's of 2010s jeans wet with notch road grass, I wonder how many times I've left. I wonder how many times my grandfather felt it. When I fall ass over teakettle into a beaver pond, risking life, limb, and toxoplasmosis for a handful of native brookies, I hope for the same chance for my kids. I doubt its possible for them.
So listen a little harder for the slap of beaver tails and feel a little bit harder for the all at once cautious, curious, and courageous nibbles that may or may not come. May they come for a long time after my passing.
My kids' lips be stained orange and purple with corner-store sodas and their fingers smell of worm dirt. May they catch more than me with Easter basket fishing poles. May my pangs of jealousy turn to pride as they ask me to pull the hook from a trout. May wood sorrel and last year's leaves carpet the forest floor.
May this live to be more than a memory.
If it should not, may the stories we tell our children and those they tell theirs grow taller with each telling. If our woods should quiet, our bait apples go uneaten, and our lines stay slack, may these stories be larger than life. May they remember that our stories are not about us, but these pieces of this Earth we chose to love.
May the woods bless you and the rivers keep you; the sun through the trees and shine upon you, and reacquaint you; the woods lift its blessings around you, and may you sustain them.