As with any family, sometimes the days in our house are so long and heavy, I think I will crush with the weight of them. The clock ticks its endless droning seconds, minutes and hours. In our case, this bone crushing sense of hopelessness stems directly from years on the front lines with colicky babies, nights spent walking, shushing infants and feeling our vitality slip from our hands.
Then there are moments so beautiful that to recognize them as they unfold is to witness an ordinary ecstasy as delicate as a butterfly wing or whisper. Everyone doing something that is feeding them on a cellular level as if pulled by invisible marionette strings of harmony. It is moments like these that glue the worn edges of family life back together.
This summer, as we struck out on our annual summer trip to the North Carolina mountains (by way of circus camp in Vermont-that’s another post) we stopped at my oldest sister’s house in Greensboro, NC.
Knowing that her baby’s nap was near, we volunteered to take our crew and her son to the library. We chose our books and headed down a nearby nature trail hoping not to get caught in a deluge. Not too far down the path, the kids found what they later dubbed hidden creek, a small creek winding its way through this green space right downtown.
We settled to eat a picnic and I suggested the kids build houses and a little village. Before I knew it they were building walls from pine straw, gathering sticks for imaginary campfires and making paths from one house to another. I showed them how to make traditional berry baskets from poplar bark to use for their mailboxes and they spent hours lost in the unfolding excitement of their new encampment. I dug some clay from the creek bank and Matt sculpted a fairy of sorts to watch over their new little homes. We picked queen anne’s lace. I took a little dip in the deeper part of the creek and meditated while the kids were deep in play.
As I watched the light flicker on the forest floor and the dragonflies whiz past me, I knew that we were in the midst of a blessed moment, everything seemed to be in perfect balance. The divide between divine and human was a little less palpable.