When we were younger and our son was a small child and not a twenty-one year old man, we spent a lot of our free time at Reedy Creek Park. It's a great park--it has hundreds of acres of forest cover, three lakes, creeks, trails for hiking and mountain biking, lawns for lying on, picnic shelters, tables, grills, a nature center, wildlife, historic ruins, and more. In the days before I began working for the US Postal Service, I would drive to the park every morning for a long walk or jog. Generally, I'd share the park with only a few people, which was nice considering it's a big place.
One of the lakes at Reedy Creek Park. Andy and Carole and I used to wander the trails around it. We'd fish there. We sit on benches beneath the trees on a summer afternoon or a fall evening. We'd picnic when it was arm. Grill burgers and hot dogs. Andy had two birthday parties here, when he was small and blond and running helter-skelter across the lawn. I couldn't keep up.The drive to the park was a bit discordant. There's been a lot of construction and urban sprawl to the borders of it, but I expected that. The park itself hasn't changed much at all. There have been some improvements. But one thing that I quickly noticed was that they had removed the huge parachute webbing that my son used to love crawling on when he was very little.
And that's what it was.
I got hit suddenly with a feeling of deep sadness as I was standing there beside the playground. I remembered pushing my little boy on the swing sets. Running with him through the sand traps. Fishing with him on the lake. Walking with him on the trails. Yeah, he's still here. But I miss the little boy that he was. I always liked being the father of a small child. It's a wonderful feeling to hold your child and cradle him in your arms and protect him and hug him.
That's what I miss.
Those years are brief. They blaze by so fast that you're suddenly stunned that they're gone.