my first love*

my father in this early twenties

I have many beautiful memories with my father. Some of my most favorite with him are out in nature. He loved to go camping and we did this as a family every single summer in the redwoods of Northern California. He would take his three girls out on hikes for hours. We'd collect rocks and sticks to bring back to camp. We'd go creek walking and he'd hold our hands so we wouldn't slip. Sometimes when life feels overwhelming and I need to lay down and take deep breaths and find my calm, I will go to that place with my father. The hikes him and I would take alone where there would be silence because nothing needed to be said. Bringing to the trails the comfort we had with one another. The crunching beneath our feet, the sounds of the creek beside us, the wisp of the trees above, breathing in the smell of redwoods in unison. Quiet glances. Knowing. Protection. I often go back there and I know he does too. I love him to the depths and when I spoke with him this morning and we were hanging up, I could sense and hear the crack in our voices. We just want to be together today. But I am grateful. I am grateful that we hold these memories together. I searched this morning for this photo of him. I had to go out in our garage and forage through our boxes. I cried when I finally found it. There he is. That was him. His thick black curls laying on his forehead. His high shiny cheekbones. His pearly beautiful smile. His gut laughter. His dark skin that smelled of campfire. Such a beautiful man then and now. I love it when people say I look like my father. I always loved it...even though I was a girl. I was proud to carry his features. And I am proud to carry him in my heart. My first love.

What are you favorite memories with your father?