Walking down a trail with my dad, mom and Carla last weekend gave me the opportunity to appreciate the sparkling Deschutes river to our right, the rocky jagged hillside to our left, trees cutting into the blue sky accented by wafting clouds and the sound of rolling, bubbling water. The sun was out but it was chilly. After the exercise warmed us up a bit we shedded our outer layers and carried them around our waists. With our sunglasses on and a healthy flush of color on our cheeks we were enjoying the beautiful day in Bend. We heard children's voices drifting down the trail toward us from the hillside. "Oh, listen to the kids playing. How cute," mom remarked.
As we came nearer to the sound of chatter it began to separate into audible words. One word, actually. A little boy's voice shrieked, "Help! Help!" We sped up and rounded a corner to see a young blonde freckled boy, about seven years old, gripping the edge of a large rock halfway up the hillside, his feet dangling free in a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to find footing. "Hang on!" dad yelled and scrambled up the hillside to rescue this frightened child. Just then, his friend came out from behind a rock and asked with a shocked expression, "Hayden! What happened?!" "Oh, your friend is just a little stuck," dad replied, trying to keep these boys calm. Hayden, from his precarious position, aligned his head with his shoulder in an attempt to see his friend and in a panic he assessed the situation from his perspective. "No! I'm HANGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE!!" Dad quickly reached up, put his hands around him and tightened his grip. Hayden released his grip on the rock's edge and let out all the breath the fear had kept inside. Rushing out of his mouth with the released fear were his thanks. "Thank you, thank you" - gulp, sigh - "Thank you!" Dad set the trembling thankful boy down on a patch of grass and his wide-eyed friend came over. "I told him to follow me, but he said he knew a quicker way." Hayden didn't notice his friend's bragging and I-told-you-so tone of voice, he was just glad to be alive. He caught his breath and thanked dad again. Further down the trail, dad was thanked for his heroism by the boy's mother who was picnicking by the river. "Boy that was an adventure!" Hayden's friend exclaimed. The final word from Hayden was, "I'm through with climbing rocks for a while."
The day was still shining in its brilliance, but this short episode added a significant highlight.