He drove with such focus and precision. His wiry body became taught at every bend. He handled the vehicle with complete confidence and an impressive ability for one so young. I turned to him and saw a man, steering and controlling the four-wheeler with care and poise. Then I looked again and saw my fifteen-year-old brother. “It gets rough up ahead,” he said, and I braced myself for a rocky descent. I was amazed at the family of rocks that had taken up residence in the middle of the trail, as he stood up and navigated through them as though he’d never done anything else. “Is this from the storm?” I said. “Yeah, I think so.” Even through rough terrain that threatened to knock every tooth loose from my skull, I was at ease with him as the guide, the driver, the one who knew not to run over certain rocks, or the four-wheeler would tip over. We stopped. “We walk from here because it’s too rough to drive down, so let’s walk now. It’s not too far.”
I stepped into another dimension, a scene of tranquility and beauty. Still water, that now and then would ripple as a water bug skied across the surface. He showed me where the spring erupted from, sending bubbles out into the surrounding water. He saw something that interested him, and gracefully bounced across a narrow portion of water. Then, sticking to the sheer rock wall, he climbed and reached what had caught his fancy. I looked, and saw a mountain goat, delicately investigating his surroundings. I looked again, and saw my fifteen-year-old brother, blending into the side of the rock wall. Further down the thin sheet of glass, shimmering beneath the overhanging boulders, we follow the water and find a cave that demands to be explored. He runs along the water, searching for a narrow piece of water to skip over, and then bounded up to the cave. I looked down, and saw a small family of flowers, smiling up at me and adorning the bank of the creek with their delicate beauty. I looked up and saw Indiana Jones, cave explorer, who laughs danger in the face. I looked again, and saw my fifteen-year-old brother, hungry for adventure, peering into a cave above the water. Then, it was time to mount our trusty steed and return to the real world. Driving again over terrain that threatens to dislodge our very bones. Along the way, we pause. “Remember the time I crashed? That was right there. And I had to walk the 3 miles home to find dad,” he said. “Also, my thumb is getting tired. Can you take over from here?” “Sure….” So now I am in control. The one who doesn’t drive this beast as naturally as I breathe. “I’ll let you know when we get to the rough spots,” he said.
I was optimistically confident, as I did indeed understand the concept of driving this particular piece of machinery. But I was daunted, as the master teacher sat behind me, the one who practically lives aboard this four-wheeler. I looked behind me and saw a man, one who knew exactly how to drive this machine, and who had entrusted me with his life on the way back to the garage. As soon as we return home, the great iron beast is turned off, and a feeling of exhilaration fills my body. “He is so grown up,” I think to myself. The man, the mountain goat, Indiana Jones, the master four-wheeler instructor, my fifteen-year-old brother.