32 Years

Jack Schott
April 12, 2023

Our house was on the edge of a grand forest. In my younger years, my father and I would walk along the trail that went throughout the entirety of the woods. As we talked about the things fathers and sons do, the birds would chirp and the leaves beneath our feet would crack. Sometimes we were quiet and we let the nature do the talking. Other times he would describe to me what it’s like to be a grown up, a husband or a father. Other times I reminded him of what it was like to be young. On many instances we would encounter the same family of deer on their evening walk as well. We would talk about what it felt like to fall in love, while we watched two squirrels chasing after each other the same way he and my mom had when they were young.  

After about 30 minutes of walking through the trail, passed the creek, passed the abandoned truck, and just beyond the pond, we arrived at the clearing. A seemingly endless pasture of nothing but green grass, and oak tree placed perfectly in the center of the field, and complete serenity. If heaven is real, this is what I picture it to look like. We would watch the sunset just beyond the tree line in the very far distance.  

After two knee replacements and a lifetime of wear and tear on his body, my father would have a harder time keeping up with my healthy teenaged self. Once I made it to the oak, I would turn around and give him a hard time for not being able to keep up with me.  

“Just wait 32 years and then you can come talk to me” he’d say with a laugh. I had to respect that.  

Today, I turned 32 years old. I walked out the back door, through the trail, passed the creek, passed the abandoned truck, beyond the pond, and through the clearing, to talk to my dad under the oak tree. I know he’s listening. So am I.

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