The Taste of Bittersweet

Two Sundays ago, fathers got an extra helping of bacon from appreciative spawn around the country. I forewent the traditional in favor of spending Father's Day with my pops and Mother Nature in the Mt. St. Helens National Monument on a little out-and-back trail run. It was the first time since moving to the West Coast that I was able to spend either Father's or Mother's Day with the proper party, so I was really happy to get a little face time in the out of doors.

Needless to say, the trail (Boundary Trail to Harry's Ridge Trail) was more than we could have hoped for—360 views of the historic Mt. St. Helens blast zone while cruising along a narrow ridgeline in between wild flowers and three-hundred foot cliff drops. It's one of those experiences that makes you feel big and small all at once, Mother Nature showing off her awe-inspiring beauty amid reminders of her tremendous power. There are a few photos at the bottom, apologies for the gratuitous amounts of dad-running-off-into-the-distance shots.

Before parting ways, Dad and I washed down our run with some burgers and homemade cobbler and I hopped on the highway north feeling lucky and thankful to share something I love with someone I love.

As I floated up off the ground, Mother Nature was busy playing a very different role in a close friend's life. While I was picking my way through scree fields and scenic overlooks, my friend was receiving word that his brother had drowned in a rafting accident in Colorado. The same thing that was busy bringing me joy was also hard at work destroying the rock in my friend's life. Just like me, he had spent his day in the mountains, and just like me, he had moved across the country to get closer to nature and the inspiration it instilled in us both on a daily basis. Yet now that same natural force that has long been our church came crashing down on his head without warning.

So often the healing processes in our daily lives involves nature, but what happens when nature is the root cause of the pain? I don't have an answer this time around, and it sucks. All I want to do now is make sure that my buddy doesn't turn his back on the stuff that has made us tick for so long. I'm not sure how to accomplish that exactly, but I intend on being right next to him when we figure it out.

Hug your loved ones, call your mom back, and tell someone close what they really mean to you. This shit is precious, remember that.