Brian changed a whole lot those last years, looked more manly, acted more mature in so many ways.
Yet, when I begin to think of him, my mind skips around, through the years.
It is like having a folded map, and moving it around, I get to review the different parts of his journey.
And that's what it feels like this reminiscing: the journey is over for Brian, and I have both the beginnings and the end, thirty-one years where the little boy who took his first camping trip with his big brother and fell in love with the outdoors, continued to enjoy nature every chance he had.
I still have a list a things we were going to do together:
1. take a trip to Italy together
2. go on fishing trips
3. revisit Montana where his father's family originated
He and I built a garden together in Woodland Hills, after the house we lived in was destroyed in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. He enjoyed helping me, doing the tasks I could not do by myself, helping me with setting rocks in various locations, building a brick patio, a pond for his fish and turtles, and designing and constructing the irrigation lines.
He chose the statuary: an Italian inspired young boy with a bird in his hand, to decorate the area with orange and lemon bushes.
Just fourteen when the earthquake hit, he visited the construction zone everyday before and after school by himself, to feed his cat that didn't adjust to moving. In the evening, we would all return to the site, with a picnic, to talk to the contractor. He was a sponge the entire time, asking questions, noticing details.