|The meadow outside our gate, Pine Valley|
This afternoon I sat out in our yard outside our converted mountain cabin and spent time with God, read from a couple of different books (including the excellent 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp), and wrote in my journal. After I wrote about what happened over the last week, I wrote this meandering meditation and thought I'd share it here....
Here in dappled light, the sunlight shyly peeping around and now beneath curving arms of the vanilla-scented Jeffrey Pine, I hear the laughter. The whirr of bicycle tires wheeling across dry dirt, sun glinting off metallic helmets as Benjamin and Jonathan disappear out the fence to the library in a rising puff of dust. Timothy and Elizabeth follow leisurely on foot behind them, trailing elongated shadows in the pale afternoon light, the powdery dirt road snaking through heat-sucked meadow grasses.
They wave cheerfully as they go, riding and strolling through the meadow, across the charcoal asphalt of the post office parking lot, through the secret gate only known by locals into the verdant county park. They'll cross the emerald lawns, traveling beneath centuries-old oaks with their wise, spreading branches, then across the dry creek bed--the one that only runs with winter rains but used to flow year-round in my childhood forays to this little mountain town.
My brother, sister, and I (usually accompanied by neighbor Scott) played in this same park, the boys catching tadpoles in the creek between games of football and frisbee, riding bikes and roller skating gracelessly while my parents played tennis on the same courts my kids now play, cheap gas making such Sunday drives to the mountains a frequent treat.
Once across the creek bed, memories running more fluidly than water, dry here but still trickling gently on the other side of the valley, a fact I note when driving Elizabeth to work at the Bible camp, the kids reach their destination: the library. This social hub of our small town recalls an earlier time of living when children were free to ride bikes to friends' houses...free to skate to the community garden to lend a hand, weeding and watering and watching living things grow nurtured.
As I sit here and write, the soft hootings of a neighborly owl greets early evening, and the young birds nestled in the eaves of our screened porch chatter incessantly, teens no matter the species. Stellar jays, midnight blue with cockiness, shatter silence with scoldings as they wing above in reaching treetops. The low moans of a lawn mower interrupt nature's concert, ripping through grasses, complaining loudly.
Creation may seem harsh, but she never complains.
As I write, a round red ladybug alights on the back of my non-writing hand, skittering past my wrist, over watchband, up cardigan sleeve as I watch nearly-invisible feet grasping white cotton, hanging almost upside down, defying gravity and nature herself.
So I write, ink delighting in shadowing journal pages, fountain pen nib glinting in the same sun's warmth, suffusing my bare shins and toes. The light shifts as afternoon falters, inexorably pushed aside by evening's arrival. Even my fountain pen creates shadow as word by word skims across page, captured from sound, image, merest touch, into permanence of written expression--almost like pinning a live butterfly specimen, but not quite as cruel....
All summer's beauty,