Between Worlds-The Light of Trayfar
Mya sat by the campfire, wondering what to do next.
Two days ago, she and her dad packed up the SUV and drove to a remote part of the mountains for a father-daughter adventure.
Now she couldn’t find him.
It had been a perfect first day. They hiked 10 miles into the Rocky Mountains, spent part of the day fishing, and then took a dip in the lake.
While her dad grilled the fish they caught, Mya photographed wildlife with her digital camera. After dinner, they sat next to the campfire, roasting marshmallows and talking about life.
Just like old times.
Her dad was a sociology professor at the University of Colorado and had spent the summer in South America, where he researched different cultures.
Mya usually went along but her dad told her she would have to stay home this time.
“It’s too dangerous…there’s too much that could go wrong,” he said, and promised they would do something special when he got back.
While her dad was gone, Mya stayed at her grandparents’ house. They lived just outside of town on a ranch, and Mya got to go horseback riding whenever she wanted.
She and her grandpa often rode the horses to Gulver’s Pass, where they would spend the entire day taking pictures and looking at wildlife.
Her grandpa was a retired rancher and showed Mya roping tricks and taught her how to ride on the rocky cliffs.
Mya and her grandma had a good time together, too. She felt like she could tell her anything. Since her mom died, Mya didn’t feel like anyone would understand how she really felt…anyone except her grandma.
When Mya told her about her dreams of becoming a famous photographer, her grandma didn’t laugh like she thought she would.
“Don’t ever give up on that dream, Mya. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Mya even trusted her grandma enough to tell her about a boy she liked.
“But he doesn’t know I exist,” she said, disappointed.
“Mya,” her grandma told her. “You have your whole life ahead of you. Live your life before you give your heart to someone, and make sure they deserve it. Your mom and dad dated five years before they were married. They wanted to make sure it lasted forever.”
Grandma smiled, but there was an underlying sadness. They both knew that forever didn’t last as long as some people thought.
Mya’s mom died last year from cancer. One day she went to the doctor complaining of feeling tired, and two weeks later, she was gone.
Now it was just Mya and her dad. And though it had been a tough year, they managed to get through it.
Mya hated to see her dad leave for the summer, but she knew he was doing what he loved.
The day finally arrived for him to come home. And even though the flight was delayed, she didn’t care. She was just happy he was coming home.
She saw her dad walking down the terminal ramp and ran up to hug him.
“What did you bring me?” she said, throwing her arms around him.
“Hey! Is that all I get? How about, ‘Hi Dad, I missed you!’”
“Oh, Dad…you know I missed you. What did you bring me?”
“OK,” he said with a smile. “I do have something for you, but you’ll have to wait until we get home.”
On the way back to Loveland, he told them about the Nuubey tribe, who lived 50 miles from the nearest town. The group had to ride motorcycles to get to a remote part of the jungle. Her dad said he had to meet with the leader of the tribe before they could set up camp, and even then they had a guide from the tribe watch their every move.
“They have a right not to trust anyone,” her dad said, explaining that the tribe had several run-ins with the local government, who were trying to get the Nuubeys to surrender their land.
He showed Mya the mosquito bites on his arms, which were as big as quarters. He explained that they didn’t have screens on their tent and the group was attacked by insects every night.
“They still itch terribly,” he said, scratching his arm.
As Mya was cleaning up after dinner that first night of camping, she looked out at the night sky, and saw a flash shoot across the horizon. A cluster of meteors lit up the sky.
“I didn’t know there was a meteor shower tonight,” she said pointing up at the sky.
Her dad stopped what he was doing and looked up.
“Huh…I didn’t either. Pretty, though. We need to get some shut-eye. Morning will come awfully early, and we have a long way to go.”
She stood up and gave her dad a kiss on the cheek. “OK, I will in a minute.”
“Night, Honey. Love you.”
“Love you, too,” she said, as she sat back down and outside looked up at the stars. There were millions of them! Twinkling stars and stars that shined bright; big ones, little ones, and some she could barely see.
I wonder what it’s like up there, she thought.
High above the meteors, she saw a star flash across the dark sky.
She closed her eyes and thought about the rhyme she and her mom used to say when she was little.
“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.”
She knew she was getting too old for wishes, but still…she wished she could have her mom back.
It’s not a silly wish, she told herself as she settled in her sleeping bag. Maybe wishes can come true. But she knew it wouldn’t happen this time.
That night Mya dreamed she was falling…falling from…. she wasn’t exactly sure. Scenery flashed past her and she caught glimpses of green, red, blue and orange, but she couldn’t make out what it was. For some reason, she didn’t feel afraid. Somehow she knew she was getting close to the end, but just before she did, she woke up.
She lay in her sleeping bag listening to the morning sounds. Light was showing through the crevice in the tent. She waited a few more minutes before she realized that she had to get up. Nature was calling.
Mya opened the flap to her tent and was surprised to see that the fire hadn’t been started yet.
That’s weird, she thought. Dad’s usually up way before me.
“Dad?” she called softly into his tent.
Mya opened the flap and saw that his sleeping bag was already rolled up and he was gone.
Maybe he went to get firewood, she thought. She grabbed a bottle of apple juice out of the cooler and sat down next to the fire pit. She checked her watch. It was 6:02.
When her dad didn’t come back after 15 minutes, she put her things back in the tent. She grabbed the red ribbon they used as trail markers, along with her pocketknife, and went to look for her dad.
Her dad was an experienced hiker and spent weeks at a time in the mountains. It wasn’t like him to leave the camp site without telling her.
She found some broken limbs and followed the trail to a clearing. From there she saw a few footprints and followed them to the edge of a cliff. Then they just stopped.
“Dad!” she called across the valley. “Dad! Can you hear me?” She scoured the landscape but didn’t see any other signs of him. She looked down the steep ledge.
There’s no way he would have climbed down there, she thought.
She decided to go back to camp and wait. Maybe he was already waiting for her there.
Mya remembered the first time her dad took her camping. She was afraid of everything. She didn’t want to bait her hook (the worms were too wiggly!) and she didn’t want to go the bathroom in the woods. She wouldn’t eat the fish her dad caught either because it tasted too fishy. She cried to come home, but her dad told her to give it a chance.
Once Mya got used to camping, she loved it. By the time they left for home a few days later, Mya didn’t want to leave, and asked her dad when they could go again. From then on, Mya and her dad spent a lot of time camping in the mountains.