The Truffula Tree of Enchanted Rock

near the summit of Enchanted Rock, Texas
snapped by Ruby
Last March, we took Ruby to hike Enchanted Rock, which is near Fredericksburg, Texas.  As we made our way up the long bulge of pink granite, the wind grew increasingly cold and strong.  Ruby scampered ahead, snapping photos with my phone.

"Daddy, come on!  Over here!."  

The rock's enormity and slope proved disorienting at times, and Ruby appeared, at any moment, as if she could sail off the face of the earth like the Nina or Pinta.  

"Look at this!  Oh, you are too slow!"  She shouted again and again, with joy and excitement.  

As we climbed, earth's crust seemed to curve slightly.  The distant horizon blended into sky as if a supernatural thumb had smudged the borders, and the canopy of piercing blue consumed us, making me feel like a tiny tadpole swimming in the sky.

sketch of tree at Enchanted Rock by David Borden
(c) 2013 David Borden
Near the summit, we found an outcropping of rocks that concealed a oasis of cactus, scrub, and miniature trees.  I leaned against the rock wall and extracted my notebook from my backpack.  The shelter provided a much needed respite from the ear-stinging wind.  I sketched a tree that scrabbled out of the rock.  Its sisters, down in the valley sprouted lively bunches of tender, spring leaves, but this one, stunted by the wind, kept its leaves close, small, and tight in wiry clumps.

"What do you think of this tree?" I asked Ruby.

"It looks like a truffula from the Lorax."

She trotted away, nimble as a goat, over the rocks and cactus.

I finished the preliminary sketch and balanced my tin of colored pencils on a ledge.  Tamara found a narrow spot of sun and warmed herself, eyes closed, chin up.

"Thank you.  I needed this trip," I said.

"No problem.  I knew you and Ruby would love it."

Ruby bounced up, "Can I have your phone?"  She took it and bounced off.

A small family entered our outcropping.  They slowed to watch me draw.  I ignored them in hopes that they would vanish into the morning.  They took the hint and squeezed by.

"Are you done yet?"  Ruby had magically reappeared at my side.  "Oh, let me see."  She looked at the picture as I inked it to completion.  "I like it."  She paused for a second.  "Let's go.  There's a cave over there!  Come on, Daddy, you're too slow."

#parenting #texas #outdoors


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