There’s quiet, and there’s quiet and the quiet that this space has been is only a pause and mostly it’s because the rest of my world is most decidedly unquiet. And then when there are pockets of space, I see them as holy, as sanctuary, and I’ve been trying to honor those places, these commas to my run-on-sentence-life, so I’m not rolling it up tight like the toothpaste, pushing and squeezing until it’s all out there.
But it has been full. Full of quiet, and not-so-quiet; of sunshine bringing rivulets of sweat, and the cool breeze that makes me tighten my shoulders inward, curl into myself, and find that I’m always being curled into.
There was this ropes course, that was one thing. And here’s what I can tell you: balanced on a wire thirty five feet in the air, I am still me. Thinking it all out, breathing to pace my brain, and though the birds sang me a song, and my face felt the cool shadow of the trees, though the muscles in my calves flexed this way and that to hold a firm pose, I crossed this high wire with my ever-thinking head.
Here’s some of the not-so-quiet: this gang of ours knows how to shout and cheer and we did our loudest for Mark, dear ol’ daddy. A runner since the day I met him, he has found his legs again chasing down backwoods trails in hot pursuit of nothing short of a personal best, and we all wait at the finish line counting minutes. Cresting the hill, I recognize him immediately, because even at a distance I know that body, the gait of those legs, the posture of his torso thrown into the last strides, and he hears our voices too, knows our call to him, bringing him in, bringing him home. Each one of us, littlest right up to biggest, then wears smiles long and wide, and that mud-caked daddy tells us his war stories of creek crossings and pricker bushes, and always of the chase.
There have been fevers, little bodies wrung out and hung out, when I’ve long thought this season of sick should be over. There have been canceled plans, date nights in instead of out, games of t-ball that go on without us. And then there have been adventures made only in the moment: to say yes without thought or regard, to answer the call to climb a tree, to swing higher and higher, to stay up a teeny weeny bit later. And all hands on deck, together we built this year’s garden, lumber tacked down and just the right soil mixture and there is mud in all our fingernails for days after until those tiny sprouts of green life push out mightily through the dirt. And that is just what we are doing here: imperceptible often, ambling toward the light.
And yes, we are full up. And here’s to spilling a little out, and saving some for later.
There is a lot to be said for getting back in the saddle, and here I am, back on this horse, and though I’m not sure what knocked me down or kicked me off (or maybe I just stepped off all on my own because that winding road of walking has beauty that the rider never sees), but I’m swinging my legs over that bare back, and pressing my weight into that spine. I’m gathering up that mane in my hands, and can feel it whipping at me in the breeze and I shout “Giddy Up!”