Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Yosemite Provides Healing Tradition

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Yosemite Provides Healing Tradition

Article excerpt

His first trip to Yosemite National Park was the summer he turned 3. I have an old photo of a woolly-headed little boy, grinning ear to ear, standing in the river with his arms stretched wide as if to say, "Look! God made this place just for me!" Nate was my baby, the youngest of my three. Every summer, when my husband took a break from teaching, we would strap the kids in the van and pack a week's worth of groceries and camping gear around them.

Then we'd drive four hours from our home on the coast to spend a week camping in the park.

That week meant a lot to each of us, for different reasons.

For my husband, a fourth-generation Californian, it was the continuation of a tradition that had started in his family long before he was born. Outside of a classroom or a gym or a baseball field, Yosemite was his favorite place on Earth.

For my oldest, it was a chance to chase lizards and catch frogs.

For my daughter, it was a time to read and work on her tan.

For me, it was a place of renewal. The granite faces of the mountains, the quiet rush of the river, the familiar whisper of the wind in the redwoods, were like a tonic that made me feel new.

It did that for all of us, really, but especially for Nate.

Like his dad, Yosemite was his favorite place, the place he felt most free.

After the kids began going off to college, it was tough to get everyone together. But we kept the Yosemite tradition as best we could, even in the years my husband had cancer.

The summer after he died, the boys and I camped (without their sister, who was working), using the reservation their dad had made for us the year before.

Nate was just out of high school, unsure about college or plans for his future. I was sitting by the river watching the light play on Half Dome when he came back from a hike and told me that he had stopped in the park office and gotten a job. …

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