During my trip to Echo Lake for a hike and some photography, I stumbled through the woods as I wondered around the lake. It was hard to tell where the path was. Snow still covered portions of the ground in late April, and some of it was still a couple feet deep.
My ability to hike 10,000 plus elevation surprised me. The ground was primarily flat or had just a bit of elevation but I was going over trees and carrying my photo gear with me. I never felt out of breath or felt like I was straining, and I kept at it for a good hour.
My feet plunged a foot or more deep into the snow at times as I went over snow embankments, and once my feet and gym shoes were thoroughly soaked, I decided to turn back. (I had forgotten to grab my hiking boots.) The light was starting to dwindle and my primary reason for coming to this spot was because I wanted to try some long exposure night photography.
I followed my own trail back the best I could, and as I rounded a tree, I saw this sign standing about 7 feet off the ground. A memory of a loved one. I had this thought of a family gathering around the tree to say goodbye to their loved one. It may have hung at eye level 10 years ago, but today it was higher. And in 10 years it would be even higher. Slowly it could rise until it would be out of view to those wandering the path below. Not forgotten, but just out of sight.
My own father passed away a few years ago, and his close friend scattered his ashes during a fishing trip to Lake Erie. My father loved to go fishing, and loved even more to go fishing with friends and family.
I had said goodbye to him long before. He had donated his body to science, and for a year all the family knew was that his body was being used to teach and to learn from. A year later, we received his ashes back, and a while later one of his best friends took him on his last fishing trip.
I wonder how their family has changed. My own has changed so much in the years since my father passed. Nieces and nephews have grown, gotten married and started having kids. One has passed away. I've moved across country. One brother and his wife has had a child and seen much of the world. Another brother has brought up two beautiful nieces, one who is a bit of a runner which is also something my father enjoyed. My sister and her family have seen changes too, and so has most of my family. Some changes bigger than others, but changes none the less.
I stood taking photos for a good few minutes- stared and studied the sign for a bit longer, and then I got on my way. I thank the family for allowing me to remember their loved one, as well as my own family and friends.