We take Bean to a small stream burbling under the shade of pine trees. The pebbles are smooth and round, bits of fossilized choral, quartz, granite sparkling in the sunlight. All three of us are barefoot at the waterâ€™s edge, mud pressing between our toes. We show Bean how to toss in rocks; this primal thing that everyone seems compelled to do near water. All three of us grin as each one breaks the surface with a splash.
Up the trail teenage boys are jumping into a swimming hole, their muscled backs slick and tawny in the afternoon light. On the rock above them, a girl sits, laughing, her toes dangling in the current.
I watch Bean go for the big rocks. Rocks the size of my fists and heavy. He carries them with both hands and hurls them inches from his tiny toes. Each time a grin spreads out across his face like sunshine; he is completely enthralled, so sure of himself. Heâ€™s grown so nimble running barefoot on our land, and here, in the dappled shade, he seems suddenly so big to me, as though it were only moments between this moment now, and when heâ€™ll be that big---jumping off rocks into too-shallow water to impress a girl.
After an hour of navigating stumps and uneven stones, we come home, heading to the soft green slope of the back lawn, each with an apple in hand. DH and I play Frisbee, tracing long thermal -arcs between us in the air, while Bean climbs the wood pile, and then his tricycle, always craving the thrill of being someplace where high above the ground.
As the sun sets, I rock Bean to sleep. The warm sounds of the summer evening drift up: crickets, tree frogs, and the whirring of the fan. It is one of those days where I feel my breath catch in my throat: heâ€™s growing so fast.