I have a confession to make. Sometimes I hear voices — most often when I am alone in our cabin in the mountains. I last heard them a few weeks ago on our recent visit to North Carolina.
They are the voices of seven young men, friends of my son who spent a week in the mountains with us ten years ago. It was that last magical summer between high school and college. One foot in adolescence, the other in manhood.
In the mountain breeze, I hear the whoops and hollers. Laughter drifts down the trail behind the cabin. I hear the cries of “look out!” just before the thud of a fallen tree.
For graduation, my son requested one last trip with his friends from high school before he headed off to college. It was the era of paintball and airsoft, so the plan was to have an epic battle in the woods behind the cabin.
First, they had to prepare the battleground. The guys spent hours moving branches and clearing underbrush. They dug trenches and built stockades with logs from trees they cut down. I think they spent more time in preparation than in the battle itself.
They did other things as well. On the way to the mountains, we stopped at an all-you-can-eat family style restaurant in Georgia — a smart move with seven guys in their late teens. We took them on a mountain bike trail, a short hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway and to a hundred-year-old general store where they stocked up on candy.
It was a memorable trip.
The guys are all grown now and scattered across the country. Four of them are married, one with three little boys of his own. One served in the military and was stationed in Japan for a while. One works in the IT department of a local corporation and another is living his dream in the Florida Keys. My son moved to the big city of Nashville to work in real estate investment. I find it ironic that the eldest, who we gave sole privileges with the chain saw, is remodeling his own fixer-upper home.
These young men were a special part of my son’s life. He went on to form bonds with another group of young men and women in college and yet another of young professionals where he lives. I am thankful for the friendships my son had or has with all of these because they helped sharpen him and make him who he is today.
It’s the voices of those seven guys from high school I hear when I’m in the mountains. Seven young men about to step into life’s adventures.
All I am left with are the memories and a couple of forts covered by a decade worth of overgrowth.
Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17 NASB