Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Stand in the Light

We zip zippers and close car doors. Spencer reaches for me to hold him as we walk the busy road to the trailhead. It's a chilly Conference Sunday, between sessions, and we are venturing into a nearby canyon to see the colors, shed a bit of ourselves, drink in the mountain air. 

Photobucket

(General Conference is a biannual event where Mormons listen to messages from church leadership via internet or satellite in our homes. Anyone can view the proceedings. Whatever your religious affiliation, you'll find the speakers poignant, inspiring.)

The kids blaze ahead with Doug. I follow slowly with the camera. The reds have mostly fallen but the aspens are just beginning to spin green into gold. It is glorious, truly. The billowing sea of yellow coins falling among the pines.

Photobucket




Photobucket


Ali and Sami pause on a foot bridge to put their arms around each other for a picture. I am surprised at how tall Ali is, how they are growing. They want me less in some ways, but more in others.

Photobucket

Eliza pulls her hood up and gives me a smile. That hole of hers is going to widen any day - her other front tooth sitting on a turn now, twisted. 

Photobucket

I walk through a patch of sunlight as the kids tumble ahead, and listen to the aspens shake whispers into the wind. Kate Chopin's words come to my mind. (Thank you Kellie).

“I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chords that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe?"

Have you heard the earth breathe? I ask myself. Yes, yes I have. But not lately.

Since school started, I've moved so fiercely, so desperately, I haven't slowed enough to hear myself breathe. Let alone the earth. 

But I know that audible exhale. The sound of Mother Earth breathing. She blows out and I inhale, my empty pockets filling, soul healing. She has the ability to resuscitate my senses, remind me who made her. 

Each exhale tells me she lives. And if she lives, so must He.

Photobucket

Ali finds a perfect resting spot in the swoop of a fallen log.

Photobucket

I make everyone stop for a moment and smile at the lens - these people I love most in the world. 


Then I move ahead with the boys. The light is brilliant, and warmer - right there in the sunshine. So we set small destinations. 

Get to the next patch of sunlight, I tell them. And the next. 

I hear myself - what I'm saying - what it means for us, to stand in the light. 

Is there anywhere else to be? I think about it and wonder, am I standing in the light often enough? In my relationships with others and with God?

I hold Spencer's hand and it is icy to the touch. I try to warm it in my own.

Stand in the light, I tell him. And we do. Waiting for the others to join us. Yellow warmth sunning across our interlocked fingers.

Photobucket

That phrase stays with me. Stand in the light. 

What a way to measure our actions, examine where we dwell, and how we think.

Photobucket

I curl inside myself, ashamed at the frustration I've felt for several days. It is nothing we've done. It's what we haven't done. How we haven't had time (or made time), Doug and I, to really talk, do something kind for each other.

Busy season puts us in survival mode. We cross paths in the late evening but we're so tired, so worn down, we have little to give each other. Then we wake the next morning and begin again. Giving to everyone but each other.

Photobucket

Doug finds a leaf, cocooned in frost. 


I think how much it feels and looks like me - how I want to lay it out in the light, next to my stiff self, and watch the crystals soften.

Photobucket

Water drips down the mountainside, iced into bubbles, blankets, and points. 

Soon it will snow and the earth's true colors, now baring themselves shameless, will be covered in white. 

This time of year the earth sheds a part of herself, shows the world what she's been hiding beneath chlorophyll, what she really is, stripped down to stick and bone. 

All this exhaling makes me want to do the same. Bare my true colors, shameless, so I can move into the next season, let Him cover my sins with burning white. 

"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow"(Isaiah 1:18).

Photobucket

Ali takes leaf peeping literally.

Photobucket


So does Doug.

Photobucket



Photobucket

He hefts the boys into his arms as we walk back down the trail. Our noses pink, our fingers tingly, we dart in and out of the light.

I watch Doug's face, see the boys wrap their arms around his neck, notice the gray weaving a pattern of age through his hair.

I love him and all the years we've had together.

What can we do but look ahead, stand in the sun, and breathe in the quiet moments that allow us to find each other? We are doing the best we can. It might be inadequate by some measures, but it's all we have to give. 

We have to trust that the Light of the World will fill in the shadows, bridge the gaps, smooth the waves we have left in our wake.

Photobucket

A week earlier, I took the kids up our favorite backyard canyon. We hiked up the overlook trail, then drove to the tippy-top of the canyon road, shouting over our favorite colors.


Photobucket


Photobucket

The kids collected leaves. The girls carefully picked up reds and yellows, while the boys shoveled handfuls of brown.

Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket

Suddenly, the girls peeled off the trail into a room of light, walled by maples, carpeted in red, each tree softly letting go its leaves.


Photobucket

"It's a magical fairy wood, Mom!" they shouted, as they placed red-veined tokens in their bags, looked up into the rustling limbs.

Photobucket

We took the leaves home and pressed them between C.S. Lewis, Irving Stone, and a stack of gospel commentaries.

When the leaves were flat and crsip, we glued them onto cards, coated them with Mod Podge, and set them up to dry.

Photobucket


Photobucket

Bright and shiny the next morning, the girls' etched their initials into the corners.

Photobucket

We stuffed them into cellophane bags and tied them with ribbon, to give to friends, or use for Christmas gifts.

Photobucket

After all my shedding, some of which came out in unfair words of frustration with Doug, this bouquet arrived with an unexpected knock. 

An expression of Doug's thanks for what I am doing. Words of love scratched onto a teensy card.

He chose to stand in the light, bow away from the quarrel, calm my angst with an offering of love. The kids crowded around the vase, smelling and pointing, as I examined the blooms.

Photobucket


That night  as I rocked the boys and sang songs, I breathed in their scent. Smelled the skin on their cheeks, buried my nose in their damp curls. I nuzzled my face against their necks and inhaled deep. 

When Doug came home, I did the same. Breathed him in - the scent that is only his. Filled my lungs with home, and the people in it that give me purpose, make up my life.

So much to learn when we are quiet enough to hear the earth (and those around us) breathe. So many reasons to stand in the light.  



13 comments:

  1. I am so glad you keep this blog. Your writing is beautiful, enlightening, and blesses so many. Love this line - Each exhale tells me she lives. And if she lives, so must He.
    It is time for me to breathe in more deeply. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. beautiful and I can completely relate. Nate and I are like ships passing in the night. We say goodnight I love you in exhaustion and wake up to do it all over again. I love those cards. Maybe i can buck up and get crafty.

    ReplyDelete
  3. no photo of you here, but you permeate this entire piece. the kids, the man, the crafts, the colorful offering...it's all you and everything you care about. xox

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just beautiful, Cath - the photos, the analogies, the writing. Thanks for bringing light into my corner.

    ReplyDelete
  5. thanks for this. a really beautiful piece that speaks deeply to me, and to many others I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
  6. SO inspirational Catherine! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. So beautiful and timely for my life. Thank you, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is incredible, Catherine. Your words take my breath away with their sweetness and beauty. I love all of it. That part about the earth being covered in white soon and tying it in with the scripture in Isaiah…wow! Thank you for your deep, loving, humble soul. What a very busy time of life you're in right now! You will look back and be amazed by all you were juggling and doing. You are doing a marvelous job. If you are tired and overwhelmed sometimes (or even all the time), you have every right to be. God will heal you and restore you and give you the strength to keep on going. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  9. You are amazing! I love to read your thoughts! They bring a perspective that I can't always seem to find on my own. Love you dearly!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Mimi - it's so delightful to connect with you in this space. I need more breathing too. xo

    Kristen - I've missed you. Need to get over to your blog and leave you a note. Your re-cap post was so much fun. Ships passing in the night is a tough gig. I think we're about through for a few months. Any light on your horizon? love you.

    Cristie - you're so right. It is everything I care about. As always, your insights are appreciated. love to you.

    Lisa - a beautiful phrase: light into my corner. Something I need often. Hope you are well.

    Angie - thanks for leaving a note here. blessings...

    Lynley - sweet friend. Always a light and lift to those around you. Thank you.

    Mindy - thank you.

    Anne Marie - read your emails and will reply soon. What a summer and what a journey of hearing and following the Lord's intent for your family. Your story filled me with faith that we too can have God work in the details of our life, guide us to where we will settle for now. And this phrase: "God will heal you and restore you and give you the strength to keep on going." I believe it, but it was so good to hear and be reminded again. Thank you. You are a wonderful support and friend. xo

    Tricia - thank you. I'm so intrigued by your home school journey. Thanks for your post and for all your insights. Bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the idea of the cards, and think that's what we'll do with the pressed leaves we have in books from a few weeks back. The kids will love that.

    I love what you said about letting earth and what it witnesses of reawaken your soul.

    And I can so relate to giving and giving to everything else, and having very little to offer each other at the end of the day. And you've gotta get up and do the same thing the next morning and the next day. I know what that is, my friend. I have felt frustration at that same issue more times than I care to share.

    I pray for the Light of the World to fill our shadows here, too. I need that grace, always, and feel more and more aware of it as time passes.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails