[Day 8 of my self-imposed 30 day prose challenge. – Owen]
For many years you’ve looked out for the first sign of fire.
Day after day, in a tower that gets more isolated with the passage of time, you’ve kept watch. You climb those long steps, because they get you to where you can see. Sometimes, you’ve had a partner to spell you, and other times — maybe even now — you’ve been alone. But you have a job to do, and a wonderland to protect.
Because you’re a parent, and being a parent is like being a forest ranger.
Once your kids get past a certain age, they may just see you as part of the tower. You know, that old structure where people come and go out of habit?
That’ll be you.
And it doesn’t mean they’re bad kids. It just means they’re focused on their own growing. Which is what we want.
It may be when they’re learning to walk, starting school, learning to drive, or having their 21st birthday — you’ll be there, in your tower, trying to head off the fire you fear so much.
Because fires do come, and we never know when.
I think a lighthouse would be the imagery for a parent more commonly used. Lighthouses are beautiful.
A ranger tower, on the other hand, is strictly functional. Like a parent’s love. It may be old, clumsy, or even embarrassing, but it’s on the job, looking to minimize fire damage. No matter how old the tower, or the people in it.
There will, of course, come a day when there won’t be anyone in that tower anymore. And sometimes it’s only then it’s realized what a wonderful thing the forest ranger did all those years. Because love is wonderful, but less glamorous than people realize.
You might pass by it for years and never even notice.
Like a ranger tower.