Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Seize the Day

The girls and I worked most of our spring break. They ran and studied. I worked a couple of moonlight jobs and the bakery. Nora went on a trip with one of her BFF's. You already know how divine my silent retreat was, down in Big Bend National Park. Saturday morning chores not quite done, we loaded up the camp stove, some amazing food, sleeping bags and a full tank of gas and headed toward our mini vacation. Most of the drive Maggie and I exclaimed, over and over and over again about the breath-taking wildflower display.

It must have been getting ridiculous, as Rose rolled her eyes at our exuberant outbursts every five miles along the road, sighing, ooh and aahing over yet another patchwork quilt of wildflowers blanketing the desert floor.

Pinks, purples, oranges, whites, yellows, blues and reds. Silvery green, blue green. Yellow green. Mountains that usually rise up tan and khaki were washed in burgundy and green. Blue skies were loaded with massive clouds, whirling and floating, casting shadows on the hills in the distance. Landmarks as familiar to us as our own backyard, after a lifetime of camping trips to Big Bend, were now strange and new. Exotic and foreign, these desert pavement stretches now covered in colorful vegetation.

We drove down Old Maverick Road, a bit past the Ernst Tinaja turnoff. Roads were fairly rough, but the old pickup bounced along with no effort at all. Instead of 70's music, we sang along with all the contemporary pop artists. As we approached our camp site, Maggie exclaimed that it looked like we were in a scene from Lord of the Rings! The soft, rounded hills were like a bosomy embrace. Truck doors opened up to a crushing wave of perfume. Wow.

I set my sleeping mat and bag up on top of the knoll, with an iconic view of the Chisos Mountains. Maggie tucked her bag at the bottom of the knoll. Rose made a nest in the back end of the pickup.

We cooked up a feast, watched magnificent display of stars, tucked in to sleep and then were nearly blown from the face of the earth by 45 mile per hour gusts of winds! It was pretty awesome, and not in an entirely lovely sort of way. Wow. At one point I raised my head to investigate and the wind blew my pillow far from me!

We survived, and by morning the air was calm and still. The girls and I feasted, drank coffee for a long time, sharing conversation about books, like, friendships, God. We hiked. Lazed around. Ate picnic feasts, exclaimed more over wildflowers, and then shared what might have felt like the most peaceful sleep ever, with no harsh winds, just a simple, friendly little breeze that tucked us each into our beds that night.

Only two nights out, as work beckoned. I really didn't have the time for that quick camping trip. But so glad we went anyway.

How I treasure those moments with the kids. Maggie is about to graduate and I am grieving her departure already. Happy to make the time to share with my daughters and sons when opportunity presents. I am so blessed.


Our yard is filled with an abundance of flowers. Many roses that have not bloomed once in the four years we have lived here. Wild flowers. Bluebonnets that I seeded a year or two ago in faith. A big stand of delphinium? How the heck did that happen? I didn't plant them. I almost pulled them out a month ago when I was reclaiming a grassy, weed filled bed to be used for edibles. Something caused me to pause. A distraction? A guardian angel?

Another plant with silvery green pointy foliage was also about to be yanked. I left it to hit the kitchen or work on church emails or something after only tossing a couple or three. Next day I returned to the bed and found the "weed" with a weird head appearing on subtle stem. Curiosity caused me to leave it be, since there were plenty of other weeds I clearly recognized, like wild mustard and ragweed, that could be attacked in my ten minutes of outdoor, backyard meditation.

A couple of days later I went outside to be greeted by the most whimsical, gaudy, salmon pink pom-pom flower you have every seen! A poppy! I never planted poppies. Several places in the yard, scattered here and there, those silvery green, sharp-toothed leaves popped up, unexpectedly, with no effort on my part, bringing fluorescent delight to parts of my yard I never noticed!

Volunteer tomato plants are emerging around the perimeter of the chicken yard fence, which is sturdy enough to hold onto pine needles, leaf debris and soil, mixed together with a little free fertilizer, thank you, lady hens.

Sometimes life is so hard, so demanding, I feel alone and afraid.

Then these crazy flowers and veggies throw themselves before my face as if to say, "Look! Look! We know how much you needed a smile and a reminder! Hang in there! You are NOT alone! Get It? I mean, really? What more do we need to do?"

And then a friend will call. A hug will be given at just the right time. Kids will offer me the gift of themselves and all of a sudden, courage wells up, and once again, there is enough.