The trail guide classified the trail as rugged which meant that it went up and down sand dunes. The first time I hiked that particular trail was thirteen years ago. It was a misty day in June and I was hiking with my son Boy in Black, who had just turned four. Dressed in a black t-shirt and shorts, his little legs churned up sand as he scrambled up the trail. I was worried that Boy in Black might get tired or bored so I made sure to rest often, offering him juice and snacks out of my backpack. He loved the hike: like me, he enjoyed the contrast of the woods with the sweep of the sand dunes, and the view of Lake Michigan from the tops of the dunes. He especially loved running down the sand dunes.
Just last week, I hiked the same trail, again with Boy in Black. He is almost a foot taller than me now, with the muscular body and relentless energy of a seventeen-year-old. It was a hot day, in the 90s and humid, but the dunes were still exciting, with spectacular views of the lake. Boy in Black, unaffected by the heat or the hills, strode ahead but stopped every once in a while to make sure that I could keep up. When he thought I looked tired, he took off his backpack, handed me a water bottle, and offered me a snack.