My Shadow - Jan 30th 2009 @ 09:49AM
by Matt Stone
When my son, Mason, was little, he followed me around like my shadow.  Every step I took, he was right there by my side, and that was certainly all right with me.  You might say he stepped in my footprints everywhere I went.  He even used to sleep right by my side when we went camping.  That was a great feeling, a part of me lying right there beside me.  But he soon outgrew that, and in time, he began to walk the beaten path all by himself.  We have had some great times together. 

Probably my most memorable trip was turkey hunting one spring.  It started off just fine, but that soon changed.  The area we were going to be hunting in had several streams, and I needed a new pair of boots. No problem, I’ll buy some on the way.  However, every pair in my size between our house and our destination was sold.  Next, when we arrived, the camp site we had hoped to get was taken.  No problem, we’ll find another one, and we did…an hour later.

Next, we got ready to set up our camp.  We unpacked the tent, and it started to rain.  Since everything was unloaded, we just put it up in the rain.  Just as soon as we got through, it stopped raining.  No problem, we'll just make some coffee and warm up.  No coffee cups.  Fortunately another camp was a couple of miles from us, and they were kind enough to let us have a couple.

After that nice rain had passed, a cool front happened to come right in behind it.  I dried off, put on a union suit and socks and unrolled my sleeping bag.  "It’s just cool outside," I thought, "I’ll sleep on top of the sleeping bag under a light blanket."  I was comfortable when I fell asleep.  Mason had thought that since the weather had been warm all week, all he needed was a couple of light blankets and a pair of gym shorts to sleep in; boy was he wrong.  Somewhere during the night, that cool front had turned into a cold front.   

About five in the morning, I woke up freezing to death.  I immediately thought that if I’m cold, I know Mason is. 
    "Are you cold?" 
    "I was cold three hours ago.   I am so cold now I can’t hardly feel my legs any more."

I immediately realized that hypothermia had set in and knew what I needed to do.  I got him up, spread out my thick sleeping bag to get him off the cold ground, had him lie down and covered him with all three blankets.  Then I climbed in beside him, just like old times and pulled him close to me.  It took him about an hour to quit shaking before we were able to fall back asleep.

He was at my side again, and he needed my help.  I was able to warm him back up, but in the process, he had warmed my heart.  I never thought I’d have my shadow that close to me again.  A flood of memories came back to me that almost overwhelmed me.

I asked him later that day why he didn’t wake me earlier.   He said that had not properly packed as he had been taught and that he was going to be a man about it and not complain.  I told him all men needed help at some point in their lives, and when a situation is going bad don’t hesitate to ask for help, especially from his dad.   It’s a natural part of life; dads taking care of their shadows.

He’s off at school now.  He’s not walking the beaten path; he’s blazing his own trail.  He doesn’t follow my footsteps anymore, but he has learned from me how to put his foot down on solid ground.  You see, when the light shines on you, your shadow always stands taller than you, and when my shadow is full grown, he will certainly stand taller than me. 

Naturally Yours,
Matt Stone
           Natural Regeneration
           Natural Instint
           THANK YOU
           Ancillary Benefits
           The Thinker
           The Game Plan
           Natural Man
           My Shadow
           Mossy State of Mind
           Life Style
           Feral Hogs
           Emerald Sea
           Dominant Male
           Buying Made Simple
           Becoming One
           Around The Bend
           Already Gone
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