I find myself revisiting my childhood more and more these days, and recollecting is almost as magical as the original experience.

Just now, on my way home from walking my son to school, someone had an oak fire burning in their fireplace. The moment I inhaled one breath of the smoke, I was immediately whisked back to a Boy Scout camping trip from almost forty years ago.

How does this happen? What magical synapse occurs that conjoins our minds and our hearts and takes us back across decades?

For some, it is the rich aroma of a freshly mown lawn in springtime. Others find themselves transported back in time upon hearing the sound of fast-flowing water cascading over a short, rocky drop. The shrill cry of a red-tailed hawk. The sound of the wind in the trees at night. The list is as long as it is personal.

All I know is that recalling the carefree days of my youth empowers me as a father in ways I cannot fully express in words. I am encouraged to get my children outdoors as often as possible. To provide them the chance to form their own natural connections. To help ensure that they will draw strength from the splendor of God’s creation today, and in years to come.

The second whiff of smoke took me back to…

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