I grew up in an old farm house out in the county. Most winters we had no heat in the bedrooms and all of us brothers can attest to waking up with the glass of water by our beds frozen solid. It makes for happy memories and tough bodies. I wouldn’t trade that real upbringing for anything! Its interesting though how those cold nights created in me an absolute love for the bitter cold. It makes me come alive now. We had a woodstove downstairs that eventually evolved into gas logs. The central part of our house being the kitchen and den area were the main areas of congregation and coming together as a family. At home we came together as a family for meals and for recreation. We did a lot together there and often dad would take us up and out into the hills as well.
I can still remember vividly rubbing dad’s heals raw on some hikes that ended after daylight had faded away. It was a rush to be there in the wild with dad climbing down to the water falls or exploring the hills in a Land Rover. There is something about being with your dad during those early ages that instills and awakens in a child a love for the hills– a recognition of the Freedom of the Hills. I often wonder if its built into everyone to enjoy the mountains or if its in our DNA. Our great grandfather, Jakob, came from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and no doubt was surrounded by mountains. Did he also enjoy climbing and passed it on down the DNA tree? Did dad awaken that bit of history through exposing us to the hills?
Whatever the case, three of the five boys are bitten severely by the bug. Dad is to blame. I have already made steps towards instilling the Freedom of the Hills in my children as well. It will be interesting to see how my four children take to it.