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70-Year-Old Conversation With the 15-Year-Old

You were as happy as you looked.

You were coming home from the Yukon (Canada). Mom, Dad, you, and your brothers ate sandwiches at the picnic table. After you had your fill, Dad said to Chip, “Set the timer on the camera. Take our picture.”

No wonder you were happy. You had just left a place where nameless rivers run thick with more arctic grayling then you could have ever caught on a black gnat dry fly. Speaking of black gnats - the real ones - swarmed over your head, clouds of them. Remember?

Every time you opened your mouth you swallowed one or two or twenty. Extra protein.

It was just a night or two before your picnic that Dad, while driving the Alaska Highway, spotted something in the night sky so compelling that he had to pull the camper over to the side of the road.

You and your mom and brothers scrambled out for a look. There, bathed in greens, purples, and reds the celestial heavens shimmered, danced above you. The northern lights! Little did you know that night Dad had given you a life lesson: always look for the light!

How were you to know that in seven years Dad would be gone?

You had such a silly grin on your face. It’s a good thing you were in the dark about the future, the triumphs, and the stumbles.

You will slip off a rock in the middle of a mountain stream and be tumbled down a 30-foot waterfall. You will wake up underwater at the bottom of a deep pool. Your light could have gone out then, but it was not your fate.

You will live to your 70th birthday - Wednesday, September 7th . More life will lie behind you then ahead.

Yes, adventures and heartbreak will come your way, and so too the gift of love and a life partner who will become your best friend, and you will have amazing sons, their wonderful partners, even grandchildren!

Speaking of Dad pulling over to the side of the Alaska Highway to see the Northern Lights, let me tell you this: Keep looking for the light always. And when you see it, stop what you are doing, look up to the sky and say, “Thank you.”

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