Monday, August 13, 2007

Vacation Snapshot #2: Three Great Things in One Day

Sometimes on a vacation the days blur together and it's impossible to distinguish one from the next. But sometimes there is one day that stands out above the rest.
On this day, my youngest nephew was seven years and one day old and learned to ride a bike. I looked out of the cabin window as I was getting dressed and saw my brother-in-law holding on to the seat of my nephew's bike, while my nephew wobbled along without pedaling. I thought, "That's not gonna happen." I went downstairs, and then heard someone say, "He did it!" I raced back upstairs to look out the window and there he was, pedaling along by himself. There's something magical about crossing the line from not knowing to knowing how to ride a bike. You can't go back. He was very proud, and gave high-fives all around.
Also on this day, my 12-year-old son learned how to sail a Snark, a small beginner's sailboat. None of us really knows how to sail, so we couldn't give him much instruction. The day before he went out in the boat and put up the sail, which promptly ripped. We repaired it with duct tape and on this day he got in again and fiddled around and figured out how to coordinate the rudder and the sail. Back and forth across the tiny cove of the lake he sailed. He washed up on shore once and we had to tow him back out in the canoe. It was thrilling to see him get up speed and whip past us with waves breaking on the bow, then come about and shift his weight to sail back the other way. He was the captain of his craft.
On this day, too, I took the 7-year-old with newly acquired bike riding skills and his older sister out for a ride in the canoe. An osprey appeared, as it does every afternoon, and we watching it fishing in the lake. It circled directly above us, twisting its neck from side to side, looking for fish. I wondered if it was thinking, I wish those people would get out of my lunch bucket. At last it swooped, slowly and calmly. It picked up a fish with its talons as if it were picking up a sandwich from the table, then rose up in the air again, circling. Was it looking for a spot to land, or waiting for the fish to die? At last it flew away with the silvery fish glinting in the sunlight.

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