I took my boys away this past weekend; the last weekend of the summer before school starts up again. I was surprised that all three of them wanted to go. These days its all about their friends and girls and parties. I thought maybe they were throwing their old man a bone but hey, they wanted to go and I certainly wasn’t asking any questions. We piled into the car and drove up to the Berkshires, a place we had been to many times before throughout their childhood. Once we got up there they were eager to go to this one place we’d been to many years ago. It’s an out of the way spot along a river that runs through a gauntlet of huge boulders and empties into this collecting pool of water. Only the locals know about it. High above hanging off a limb on one of the trees is a rope swing. As kids they used to love to climb up the embankment and swing like Tarzan over the water and let go, falling a good two stories into the cold mountain water. I remember they even convinced me to do it. Very scary.
I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there but after a few wrong turns we managed to find our special spot. We walked down to the water. There was the rushing river, the boulders, the collecting pool of water, it was all there the way we remembered it. But the tree that held the swing was down. There it was lying face down along the embankment. The rope swing that had provided us and so many others with hours of fun was lying in the mud. We looked at it. There was nothing to say.
After a while we decided to jump in the water anyway. We swam to the far side and climbed up the embankment. We covered our bodies with the thick clay-like mud that was there and waited for it to dry in the sun, then jumped back into the cold water and let it wash the mud off us. As we collected our clothes and towels I turned around and took one more look at that tree, then my three teenagers and I climbed back into the car and drove off.
Ofer Aronskind is the author of adventure books for boys, he writes books that boys will want to read.