This is a time of year that always brings bittersweet memories to me; experiences that bring joy to remember, but sadness in knowing they will never be repeated.
While I was growing up, I went camping a lot with my dad. Even after I grew to adulthood, we would get together and go camping and fishing at times. Fall was always sort of special to us; the temperature was cooler, and it was the start of the hunting seasons.
I recall the crisp bite of the morning air when getting up in the morning; the way you could smell everything around you with crystal clarity, and your ears were tuned to hear and interpret all of the sounds, whether in woodland after deer, or in more open plains and chaparral looking for rabbits and hares.
Sitting around a small campfire, bacon and eggs in an old cast-iron skillet, with a couple of slices of bread to sop up the grease before it hardened in the clear cold air as you stood before the fire to warm up, since the sun was usually still down behind the mountains.
A few pieces of jerky or peanuts in your pockets, check your rifle and ammo, and go off hunting. If you were lucky, you brought home game. If you didn't get any shots, it was still ok; you had the experience of doing something out away from the city together.
When traveling or sitting around the campfire, it was a time to talk; children and parents don't always agree on everything, but as long as they can communicate with one another, they can get along and bond at some level.
I lost my dad in November of 2005, and now those experiences are relegated to the status of memories. I have a lot of them, but there never seem to be enough to fill up the empty space that a loved one leaves behind.
To those out there with children and parents, make as many memories as you can now, because later there may not be time.
Thanks for sitting through this uncharacteristic post, I usually don't get this maudlin.