Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hiking with Michael

I remember being the little brother, going hiking with my brother Michael. I was perhaps six or seven then, in the mid '60s. Michael was, and is, about six years older than I.

We hiked out around Grandpa's farm, near Crane, Missouri. That was a big deal to me then.  Down the hill, on the rocky dirt road, past the small old cemetary, along the railroad tracks. He taught me to walk the rails, for balance he said. He could go, seemingly forever, never slipping off the shiny curved top of the rail. I, I was always slipping off, at first. Later, I got the hang of it, barely looking down to see my feet. I recall the smells, in the mid summer Missouri heat. I don't know the names of the plants, weeds along the right of way, but I remember the warm dry smells of things not bothered by heat.

There were lots of things to see and hear. Hawks up high, crows, always, dragonflies & horseflies, the former welcome, the later, not so much.  lizards, if I was lucky, to see and hear, and chase, and miss.

I remember once, standy on a short trestle, perhaps thirty feet above Crane Creek. Looking down into the clear water there were goldfish there, let out from some fisherman's minnow bucket at end of a fishing day.
They flourished there in that creek, for years, growing as big as a large mouth bass, fourteen inches at least, Orange and white  and slow and serene. Our backwoods versions of koi, I think now.

And looking up from the creek from where we stood on the trestle there, across to the vertical bluff were goats, now wild on their own, perched, miraculously to me, on bits of rock no more than half the width of their hooves.

White and grey and brown, nonchalantly watching us watching them. they knew they were untouchable, aloof in their superiority of belonging, the kings and queens of the bluffs, much more at home than we to that place, that time.

It was a good day, among many good days, hiking with Michael.