By Stephen C. Schultz
The air was thin and cool. Stars speckled the sky as the faint flashing strobe of a commercial airline silently glided across cosmos. The leaves rustled in a slight breeze that carried the un-mistakable hum of crickets through the canyon. I turned and noticed the feather of a “Bird of Prey” dangling from the limb of a pine. There was a nervous energy that seemed out of place in such calm surroundings.
This was the beginning of an early morning Phase Review for three students who were enrolled at Oxbow Academy. They stood at the trail-head a little disheveled and groggy. The boys circled up and had a brief conversation with the therapists about situations in their lives where they have made some decisions that actually betrayed the trust of their parents and other loved ones. In fact, some their behaviors have been downright painful for others to endure.
The conversation then moved to the various struggles of life. The therapists pointed out that the trail they would hike represented “Life’s Journey”. Then without another word, they were off, hiking up the trail.
The boys started off at a good pace. Things were pretty smooth and the focus was strong. About fifty yards into the hike, at a very steep incline; one boy started to demonstrate fatigue and started to slow down due to the rocky terrain. He stepped off the trail and leaned against a tree. He was whining and complaining about how hard it was. He mentioned this isn't what he was expecting and that he is not an outdoors type of kid. He was trying every trick in the book to get the therapists to say he could just go back to the car. Then the conversation turned to what he would say or do with his parents when things got hard. There was silence…then one slow step…then another. He was back on the trail and slowly making his way to the top.