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Angel in the Wind

When I doubt what others are capable of, I remember this day.


“Can’t I go with you, mommy?” asked my daughter, Kristi, as I laced up my hiking boots. We were living in Oregon then and our backyard bordered the hills of Mayer State Park. My evening hike was supposed to be “alone time,” a rare chance to stretch my legs and clear my head. I didn’t want to have to worry about my five-year-old keeping up.

I looked at her dad, hoping he could read my mind. What if I have to carry her back? Or worse, what if she gets hurt? Kristi was too small for such a big hike.

“Honey, I don’t know…”

“There’s no harm in letting her try,” my husband chimed in. I was outnumbered.

“Okay,” I said, giving in, “but we’ll turn around as soon as you start to get tired.”

The hillside was washed with the golden light of the setting sun as Kristi and I started up the path, Kristi bounding ahead. The scrub oaks gave way to long grass. The wind picked up, gusting loudly. God, I prayed, this might be too much for her. But instead of slowing her down, the wind pushed Kristi along, inviting her to join in its swirling dance. Kristi laughed and spun, legs kicking and arms flailing. Why had I worried? Kristi had more energy than me!

Kristi is all grown up, an accomplished hiker who has tackled the Grand Canyon more than once. Now, whenever I find myself doubting what others are capable of, I remember that determined little girl—and the wind—that proved me wrong.

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