The little boy hauls wood from the bottom the hill and drops it under the pear tree. He’s a hard worker and I see myself when I look at him. He’s alive out here. The work sets his heart to rest and silences the otherwise ceaseless thoughts. “Mom, I haven’t said one word since I started working.” He realizes. Me either son; and I rake the remaining walnuts and leaves around the base of the tree. There’s too many to harvest today. Looking down I stop.
My mind’s eye flashes to a black and white photo of workmen balancing on the beams of Sears Tower. Once the glorious achievement of mankind and now nearly unmentionable in our list of accomplishments . Back to the leaf. Just a leaf; one in a trillion, 1 in a billion trillion and yet… The greatest of man’s creations is dwarfed by the genetic marvel of even a single leaf. This is humility. This is peace. Finally, I am here. I am fully present and the restless strain of the past weeks has dissolved to memory. I perceive His nearness.
The boy is back. Coming down the hill with tears in his eyes. There is a perceived injustice. He’s had a rough couple weeks too and every attempt to get at his heart has seemed deflected. But here, on the hill we find each other. We find his heart. We find peace. He looks at me. He understands. Victory; and back up the hill to run an errand with dad. Thank you.
He’s replaced on my lap by the girl. “Appow” she says and reveals the deep red fruit in her hand. Autumn has brought the rich sweet of apples too thick to properly make use of. Still, she has made a pastime of securing at least one each time she comes outside. We sit together and she breeze sweeps around us. Then it’s over to the other apple tree to do some unofficial pruning on behalf of the bunnies. The bark, leaves and fruit has become a staple for them. She stands under the tree and waits for me to hand her the foliage. “Mow!” she demands, wanting me to know that she is well capable of carrying her fair share. So I pluck a few more shoots and balance them in her arms. She’s not yet two but she’s as determined as any adult. Our days have been filled with flustered “no’s” of toddlerhood. But out here we find our yes as we awkwardly step on the fallen harvest.
The wind blows around us again. This time at our backs and her tender curls now blind her. “Like this daughter” and I show her how to shake her head so the wind blows her hair to the side. She doesn’t quite get it… but she will. She’s watching me everyday and I’m teaching her- all too often unintentionally. But right now, I’m not afraid of that. Right now, I am fully present and I know He is teaching us both. We feed the rabbits and then begin to make our way back up the hill. The baby inside is probably ready to feed as well. Looking back the yellow sun pours down on the unpolished lawn; evidence of work and play dribbled here and there. Usually, the untidy would bother me but not today. I smile.
All is as it should be.