The fourth and final return was ours. We went back to the Shouf Cedar Reserve, where we haven’t been since I was 7 months pregnant and unable to follow any of the footpaths for fear of falling forward onto my belly.
This time we were part of the Vamos Todos hiking group and even though I was still a little afraid of falling forward with my 22 month old daughter strapped to my front, they encouraged us to take the 8km trail rather than sitting on the bench by the entrance (where I sat the last time).
I asked the guide, who held my arm firmly and picked flowers for my daughter delicately, how long he’d being doing outdoor activities like this one:
His answer made me smile and reflect on the fact that my daughter has also been ‘hiking’ since ever, as the very first time we took a trip with this group, snowshoeing in Faraya, I was pregnant without even knowing it.
Another part of the return was remembering a song that I haven’t sung since our daughter was a few months old. When she was born the only childhood tune I could remember was ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain’. which I sang to her endlessly, inventing verses beyond the ones I knew about wearing pink pyjamas and riding six white horses. Fortunately (for us both) I soon replaced it as I remembered other old favourites.
But as we rounded our own mountain at the end of the hike, it came back to me again and since then we have been singing it every night at bedtime, with the old verses, and some new ones inspired by our day amongst the Cedars:
She’ll be wearing mama’s socks (over her sandals, because it’s so unexpectedly cold, and I forgot to bring any for her!)
She’ll be singing all the songs that she knows (trying to keep her busy and distracted from the cold)
She’ll be looking for the bus (which finally appears as we come down from the clouds)
and finally she’ll be drinking lemonade, fresh and cold (homemade by another guide and offered in plastic espresso cups to congratulate us on completing the hike).