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The change in the weather gets me remembering and longing for the summer, warmer months. The sun was high and hot instead of the cold mornings with rain in clouds we are beginning to see. It’s not worse conditions; just different.

It is a Sunday afternoon in late September, and the temps are still approaching 100. Autumn, my wife, is busy in town, so I think I’ll head down to the barn and see what kind of mood Buster is in. It probably won’t surprise those of you who know me, that one of my top things to do is horseback riding.

This particular day Buster is doing pretty well. He comes in easily but is missing a front shoe. No worries, I have plenty of time to reset his shoes before we take off. I’m already soaked by the time I get the saddle on and hit the trails.

It feels good to be active on a summer day, wiping the sweat out of my eyes with an old rag, and noticing the dampness of my shirt stuck to my skin.

I see it in your boys every summer — that glow of testing themselves physically with whatever is their favorite way to break a sweat. Could be tuning up their strategy with an intense game of capture the flag or honing their throwing arm in a friendly angle ball game. Regardless of what it is, I see your sons pushing through some discomfort and learning more about themselves — things they realize in the heat of our summer afternoons.

It might surprise you that I have been hanging out with young men for more than just a few years! As I approach my 60th year, it still warms my heart to watch young men grow. What an excellent place to embrace their independence, physical abilities, and challenge themselves to make the most of a new experience. That’s what the summer is all about.

My own kids will give me an eye roll if they hear it one more time — but we’re not in the summer camp business; instead, we’re blessed to have a part in helping to build young men of character.

Well, I’m back under the shade of our breezeway, draining a cold glass of water. Buster is hosed off and probably rolling in the dirt. After some barn time, I realize that getting hot, stinky, and filthy is one of my favorite things. Think I’ll hit the shower before Autumn gets home.

David Domingue

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