I was unprepared for Woody's fearlessness. He scampered easily up and down rocky crags, with and without shoes. He ran ahead of us on the steep and sometimes narrow trail and waited patiently by himself while we slowly caught up with two-year-old paced Fox. He stopped to really notice what was around him: the colors and textures of rocks, the changing states of trees, the range of crow songss, and the best places to hide to be able to jump out and surprise us. He talked to other hikers, informing them of what he found ahead and what game he was presently playing.
I did not know this is what it would be like to be his mother in this moment, to be running to catch up with and then staring in awe at my independent, brave, careful, thoughtful, confident child. But there he was, utterly at home on the side of a mountain in his own skin.