Reflecting on the memories; I’m skipping along the dirt road where the speed limit couldn’t be any more than 5 mph because the bumps, dips, and rocks slowed any vehicle trying to travel faster with terrible shock repairs afterward. The trees seemed tall and grand. The brook talked playfully as the dragonflies dipped and soared around, catching food unseen. The sun would peek through the pines, warming my skin as I climbed the rocks to cross the brook, pretending to be an explorer in a strange land. I loved being outside, the air expanding my lungs and making them feel bigger than the usual breaths in the city.

Every weekend, I stayed with my grandparents, was a treasure to keep and sear in my mind forever. Mom had to work, so Mem and Pep stepped in to keep us safe and captivated in the surroundings they chose to use as their legacy. Like surrogate parents, they taught me and my brother all the responsibilities to share in a family. They loved to be outside. Sun Valley gave them the opportunity to establish solid memories and great times of fun and teaching with the element of laughter whenever warranted.

Campfires were one-of-a-kind because Harvey had a way with fire that called neighbors to come enjoy some fresh popcorn, beer and a game of cards on a chilly nights when the sun went to sleep. Watching him build each fire was like peeking into the process of a highly crafted artist, each stick and log in a specific place so that the oxygen could flow and give the fire its immense breath. How incredible! The colors he could bring out of the fire,  made it seem like a rainbow with lots of reds, yellows and orange, then blues, purples and greens as the embers could still kick up a burst if prompted in the right way.

Just like the fire’s smells and colors, the days and nights spent in Sun Valley held our attention and our youth. These memories help me to see how camping and living with Mem and Pep on weekends, or whenever my mom had to work, pulled and formed me to become who I am and the pleasurable moments being outside can do.


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