Archives for posts with tag: adventure

Small hands, the sort that belong to a child, with slightly rounded fingers, offer me a folded note. Brooke on one barefoot stands tilting first to left than right to find the balance required to go up on her toes. She is at that age of adventure, the time in life when we want to try new things and something deep inside has made her fearless. Only age and the rules of our parents keep her from being off on an adventure, traveling down rivers or scaling mountains. At eleven, though older than Brooke, I am cautious knowing the world has teeth. Teeth that can bite you, leaving scars like the one on my right hip, caused by stitches that pieced me back together after the nail in the barn post found its way into my flesh.

Unfolding the wrinkled note, Brookelyn’s yet to be perfected penmanship spells out a plan. The sort of plan that would have been conducted in private secret by my smaller companion had there not been a need for my size and strength. At the time I assume she is also in need of my engineering and wit to complete the adventurous plot of bravery. Time has taught me to know better of that. Reading over Brooke’s words a second time, my young mind searches for an alternative or a way to discourage this act laid out before me. The plan is much too dangerous for the more cautious sister to take serious. Maybe a distraction will do the trick I tell myself suggesting Brooke allow me to push her on the swing hanging in our front yard.

Long hair trails behind my sister, who’s toes grip the wooden plank of the swing dad constructed and hung from the lone tall tree in our front yard. In efforts to reach new heights and feel her need of quest, I push Brooke firmly each time she approaches me. When swing and young sister reach the greatest point in the sky we have accomplished, to my surprise she leans forward and stretches. I know before it happens what will come next. In a shout I request she remain on the swing, adding my concern that it’s too high to jump. My warning disregarded the ropes holding the platform are released and youthful toes push off. Flying through the air towards appealingly lush soft green grass is Brooke. If she could I’m certain my ears would have been filled with her squealing in excitement. Landing on one foot, then tumbling forward, left hand catching the ground, Brooke rolls across the yard.

Sitting in the starch white of a waiting area with dad, mom leads Brooke out by her right hand. Her left arm is wrapped in plaster and then a purple tape, intended to contain the broken bone of her arm to ensure it heals properly. Again I apologize to everyone, my parents ensure me that accidents happen and it’s not my fault. Brooke smiles huge and hands me the stickers she has received for her bravery form the doctor. This is her way of saying, “hey sis, I jumped! Chill out and have a sticker, it’s no big deal!”

Later that day holding one of my fathers hands and Brooke holding the other, looking out across the fields beyond our home, with the safety of fathers grip we complete Brooke’s earlier noted request. From the top of the barn I wonder how this is safer than the swing we used so many times. Dads hand ensures me that it is not dangerous, his words explain how we can never come up here without him and I have my answer. Dad holding Brooke’s pants by the top back, she stretches bravely on her toes, looking out as far as she can see, assuring anyone in doubt that unlike me, bravery can not be diminished by the teeth of our world.

Retelling the events today and hearing my sisters perspective made me laugh. Brooke while reliving it all with me simply wrote, “It was actually quite disappointing! I’d hoped you could see the ocean from the top of our barn.”

-Brooke’s Sister


Melodies resonate in the living room of our comfortable home. Tones, that are strung together in harmony with love. Brooke’s fingers find the notes of a piece older than the farm house that my father with his loving hands has restored, giving us girls a place to grow, eat, sleep and feel our parents love. Like that love Brookelyn wrinkles her brow as small fingers fly across frets and the eight taunt strings of what was once grandfathers mandolin. In fascination I hear the familiarity of Robert Johnson’s work. Sure I too have learned to play the instrument, bluegrass and traditional songs. What has me memorized is my little sister taking the blues piece we both love and playing it first on her guitar, then on grandpa’s mandolin.

Keeping thoughts to myself, just being in the moment absorbing the sound, my eyes close. To astonishment my eyes snap open as Brooke suddenly swings the song into a jazz number I think I recognize but can’t name. Noticing my reaction, she smiles for less than a second before her eyes return to the instrument in her hands. Mom is now standing in the entryway smiling at her youngest who plays on. In her hands is a plate, the kind loving mothers present to those they most care about. On it’s surface is a nutritious mixture of sliced apples, with the less healthy but rewarding drizzle of honey across them. The plate being placed on small table beside the sofa I’m seated on brings the music to a halt.

Apples being one of Brooke’s favorite treats, I wait until she selects the first one. As the refreshing crisp fruit cools my mouth, Brookelyn’s hand gently grazes my cheek, while mom returns to the kitchen. Though unsuspected, the touch does not startle me, it’s simply normal. With the gentle touch Brooke has told me she loves me, thanked me for letting her chose the perfect bite of snack before selecting my own. A cool breeze can be felt through the window with it bringing in natures fresh scents, as we crunch the apple sliced in equals so it can be shared. Finishing my bite, I ask Brooke what the jazz song that she infused with Johnson’s piece is. Scrunching her nose she grabs a tablet from the floor and writes her response. Looking at the words, “nothing, I just made it up” I’m not really surprised but am impressed.

After a discussion of when she began writing melodies so advanced, I realize while away at college, it hasn’t been me that’s growing and finding education. Brooke explains that with me away, the music helps to ease those moments that she feels alone. There really is nothing I can do about this, college is important, plus I need the experience, friends and freedom. Yet, I feel the pangs of guilt for her being alone. By thinking of her almost nonstop, wondering what her thoughts would be, missing her laying on the floor drawing for hours on end, seeing the glow of light from the corner desk where she ties flies, have I once thought what it is like for her? Truthfully, I haven’t, me missing the soft notes on a guitar and all the rest was about me. For the first time, today home for the summer, I am aware that Brooke still needs me.

-Brooke’s Sister

Paper when folded properly can become planes, swans or boats. Of course if one masters that art of folding pressing, refolding and bending it can be so much more. Those little boxes you can blow into to expand to a square, or the four sided question and answer machine we all played with in junior high, in order to find who we’d marry, where we’d live and how many kids would run through our house. Just as make believe as the lives we lived out by picking colors, numbers or whatever our peers chose to scribble on the folded finger puppet, was the other things we made.

In our house the origami items where tools to another world, taking us places far beyond the house, fields and streams that made up our reality. When made correctly a plane could fly us across the Atlantic ocean of our living room carpet to generally crash, though we always safely left the bent nosed wreckage, to see the beautiful Eiffel Tower that one of us had folded. There in our fancy hats, we would watch the swans swim on French ponds, in our boats, which strongly resembled the hats we wore on our heads. These wonderful folded adventure tools always had the elegant writing of Brooke on them, telling her part of our adventure I narrated. Whether trips to Rome, or into dangerous battles, some famous like Napoleons great defeat, or the ones with trolls and dragons, Brooke and I spent hours in our paper created worlds.

One day as I was lost in imagination folding and telling our adventure. Brooke tapped my leg to get my attention. Looking up from my work into the sparkling eyes of childhood companion and friend I was surprised to see her laughing. It’s always startling to me when she silently laughs and I’m clueless to the laugh and source of amusement. The feeling is a combination of awkwardly dancing to music you’ve never heard, being walked in on while changing and being the one in the group that really has no understanding of the joke being laughed at. Following Brookelyn’s slender arm leading to the hand with pointing finger, I too begin to laugh. There in the floor, our brown lab on her belly is stalking our paper creation. The work he approaches is a small boat carrying what was once the paper versions of ourselves but now just one remains. Leaving no doubt that one of us has fallen victim to his jowls already.

After some laughter, a note passed my way reads, “I saw him coming and being the smart one, swam for shore.”

Of course I know this isn’t true, our dog has ate one of our paper figures, but that’s not what gives away her false writing. Anyone who knows Brooke, is aware she isn’t the type to run from a battle, no she looks under the bed in those moments of fear, when a child is certain a monster resides there. Plus, I can’t say how I know but just like I’d never abandon her in danger, ever ounce of me is certain that she’d never leave me.

-Brooke’s Sister

Lovingly my father insisted both the Bayer girls learn the art of fly-fishing. With certainty a memory of Brooke barely coordinated enough to move a rod back in forth in a strait motion, standing in our yard as father clapped out the rhythm that would ensure a looping cast, is engraved in my mind. I don’t recall learning to handle a fly-rod at such a young age, but doubtlessly remember the efforts of my sister. Long after my own arm tired or my interest faded to other activities, Brookelyn would still be standing in spring dusk working the hookless line in our front yard.

Our mother questioned dad only once about if in fact he possibly was pushing the youngest daughter too hard, or if the length of these casting sessions bordered on the level of cruelty. The inquisition ended with Brooke in tears struggling to sign and scribble a legible, “please let’s me play fishing.” At this point it was apparent to all three of us that if anything the smallest member of our family was the one lengthening the fly-fishing lessons. This was also the first sign of my sister’s slightly unhealthy obsession for perfection at any activity which she undertakes.

Several years have passed since Brooke and I were even close on the water in ability to handle rod and line. As the art insists this also sets her several leagues above me in enticing, hooking and landing fish. It also must be written that though I attend most fishing expeditions with Brookelyn and father, I go more to be with them than to work line or catch anything. Truth be told I know a day may come when I step away from my fly-rod and never pick it up again. Brooke on the other hand, when not wondering local water ways alone or with anyone willing to venture with her, often spends her time planning an adventure to come, or tying flies that she has deemed for season and certain species of fish. Not unlike the work she does on paper with pencil, pen or pastels, Brooke is an artist with her fly-rod and the tying of furs, feathers and string on a hook. As is the case with most talented artist her passion and love shows in the beautiful handcrafted flies and even more so in the grace of her cast, be it a standard, roll or shadow cast.

After spending this morning on the water with Brooke, I’m simply amazed at who she is becoming. At thirteen, I chased boys, fought at times with mom and dad and made more than a few mistakes. Watching Brooke stop from tying a #12 fly to write out our adventure from the day in an effort to tell Dad, who just walked in from work, it occurs to me that though I am older, she may in some ways be the more grown up of the Bayer sisters.

-Brooke’s Sister