The Jefferson National Forest gleamed like burnished copper this morning. The rose-tinted gray clouds moved across the sky from the west to the east like travelers bundled up for a trek across the snowy tundra.
It was the wind that woke me up this morning. I appreciate her. It was lovely to see those not too terribly early morning sights. I know what she really wanted me to see was even more lovely than the clouds and the glow. It was the sight of three children, green capes fluttering in the wind, bows and arrows slung on backs, walking through the bottom field. At least at first glance it might appear that they were three children walking through the field. I will tell you a secret. They were not mere children. Those gentle people are royalty. King Max, King Patrick and Queen Rose appeared to be venturing off to survey their kingdom, the kingdom of Narwithia.
The Woolleys are here for a visit. They were our friends before we ever knew them because they lived across the street from Philip's dad in New Jersey. They cared for Poppa by having him over for dinner, by giving him little cards and drawings specially crafted by toddler Max. When Max was still a little fellow and Poppa was beginning to ail, Max would deliver a bottle of water to Poppa every day of the record hot summer. That fall we moved to New Jersey to better care for Philip's dad. Maggie was five years old. Patrick was six. Max was six and Mary was four. (How can it be that they are all so tall now?!?) It was only natural that these children would love each other. Oh the Playmobil adventures had in the basement across the street. Oh the elaborate burial ceremonies and funereal marches for poor hamsters. Oh the Christmas carols and halloween costumes, the dolls, the walks to school, the adventures in the backyards creating real worlds via fairy houses.
It was a very sad day when we made the decision to move to the farm. For many months Philip and I discussed the repurcussions of moving the children away from their very best friends. We almost didn't come because we felt it would be too traumatic to separate those pals. One day we knew it would be in the best long term interest for us to come to the farm and we trusted that God would take care of all those broken hearts.
Max and Mary come for visits to the farm much more often than we ever dreamed possible. What a wonderful thing because Max and Patrick and Rose have been working on expanding their kingdom over the last three, now going on four years. They have a lovely kingdom, though I have never seen it with my own eyes. I have seen drawings. Max is an accomplished artist and gave King Patrick and Queen Rose drawings of Narwithia, the castle, the cathedral, the region around and beyond. It is a beautiful place. The Kings and the Queen appear to be just rulers, they have drawn up a constitution and all sorts of royal documents that of course I have never seen because I am not a ruler of their country and one must be careful about letting all sorts of royal secrets be known to too many people. There are occasional moments of turmoil that threaten to erupt into a full scale war, typically involving boundaries and sisters. Typically resolved with minimal diplomatic help from the mothers.
Woolley visits are eagerly anticipated for weeks. We all cry when they have to leave. Even so, I like to think that all the children have been able to experience a much larger world via these two or three times a year visits. Their world is a big world. Not necessarily visible to our naked eye, but definitely clear to see with the soul.
Thanks Wind, for waking me up! And thank you, dear Lord, for these wonderful children. I love them all so very much. They are the best and most wonderful gift.