Not too long ago, I wanted to get James out of the house in the late afternoon for some father/son bonding.  Amazingly, just a few blocks from our house is this hidden gem of a state park.  It's not much more than a collection of a couple small hills, but its views of our city are inspiring and in those few blocks, city dwellers are transported to some version of the mountainside.  James was rather entrenched in a cartoon of Spiderman, his favorite superhero, but I managed to coax him away and charged him with changing into his hiking clothes before our adventure.   

A few moments later, a dramatic blur of blue and red landed in front of me.  "Spidey" was decked out in full superhero garb, ready to go hiking.  At certain points in my parenting life, I would have been annoyed, thinking--we only have an hour before dinner, we need to get outside in the fresh air and exercise, why is James disobeying me, tat costume has holes in it and needs to be washed...  Instead, that day, for some reason, the site of James so earnestly dressed up as his favorite superhero, melted my pragmatic heart.  I couldn't help but think that these moments of innocence fade away all too soon, like the sun sinking below the hillside at dusk--why would I ever want to speed up the inevitable end to one of life's sweetest seasons?

Needless to say, Spidey and I went to that hillside, and we lived it up.  I followed him with my camera, just like Peter Parker; and we laughed and cheered and breathlessly chased each other's silhouettes against that late afternoon sky, all before the sun set... 

{click on photos to enlarge them; the last photo is my favorite one!}