Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sunpooled footprints

An azure orb of sky stretches over bristling gray trees, a calm duck pond, and the expanse of indigo mountain that sleeps along the horizon.  The pond reflects thin white wisps where once a plane traversed, but already the lines unravel into azure. 

As I trek across the wintered field, dodging "moo-poo" (Ezra's clever coinage) while grasping a little hand in each of my own, the plodded paths of cows become more evident.  Overlain hoofprints keep the grass at bay in some areas and clear larger swaths around the waterers and vitamin-block holders.  Mud sucks prints off Joey's boots as he runs ahead to follow the distinctive tread from tractor tires threading through gates toward the barn.

In the field on the edge of the woods, we find an abandoned birdnest, wound from coarse tendrils of cow hair, pine needles, and even shriveled, slate-colored cedar berries.  Sleek black feathers, shimmering with turquoise and purple when twirled in sunlight, and fluffy feathers like unmeltable snow dot our path back to the house. 

Traces of life abound around us.  Not only those we found during our walk today, but also the finger trails on handmade pottery, colorful toddler footprints plastered to a recent painting, tire tracks along a snow-covered road, kiss marks on glass (left by a compassionate almost-two-year-old), cookie crumbs trailing across the floor, a circle of leaves showered from a tree, ...

What types of traces can you add to our list, friend?  What traces are you leaving with each step you take?  Imagining the evidence of my life in its wake, I am more mindful of the ways I live and the impression I make.  When waves of time lap my footprints from the shore, will the world be sad to see those traces go? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Busted Pot

Having slipped bare feet into the mud-splattered muck boots by the back door, I ventured into the below-freezing darkness that seemed to quilt the porch.  An outside light barely pushed back the night and created more shadows than visible splotches along the path.  After three confident footfalls, my boot slipped on an ice patch clinging to the second step.  A wild rush sent an electrified heart into my throat and roving arms into the banister.  Time slowed as I watched the pot I had been carrying to the kiln for its final firing pitch into the air and suddenly drop with a sickening clatter onto the hard stone walkway.

Such moments poignantly clout life from time to time, do they not, friend?  Perhaps it is the shattering glass or explosive impact of a car accident, the unexpected job loss and inability to find new employment, the last egg splattered across the floor while your child fusses for food (and only egg satisfies his palate at the time), the overwhelming panic of impending deadlines and expectations...  Could you add a few?

After the tears dry and the shards are swept, take a deep breath and venture into those other extreme emotions: an expression of love from someone who means the world to you, completing a project that has required extensive commitment and received your personal praise (even if no one else sees it), settling in awe of natural beauty perhaps at the peak of a mountain or by the lapping seashore or near the scent of garden flowers...  What softens the tension from your limbs, friend?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mailed with love

"Mommy, I want to mail this."  Joey held out a postcard, which was part of the day's discarded junk mail.  Joey and Eza love to sift through the stack and color or cut the papers.

Joey had decked out his postcard with a cheerful duck sticker where the postage stamp should have gone, colorful scribbles and wheeling lines to one side, and two letters with wobbles scribed beside the addressee's information: T O

"Um, Joey, what are these?" I said, pointing to the letters.

"A T and an O, Mommy.  This letter is ready to mail.  Can I put it up to mail?"  Before receiving an answer, Joey nimbly climbed onto the woodbox lid and slipped the letter he addressed into the letter holder by the door (our official "this-goes-to-the-mailbox" locale inside the house).

It is amazing what children learn from their parents!  Often the times I try the least to teach my sons are the times they learn the most.  It makes me more mindful of the example I am setting.  As my children grow, what words and images will they associate with me?  How will my actions affect the lives they lead?

Do you ever have that feeling, friend?  Are you surprised by the image your dearest have of you?  I do not mean everyone, of course - there are some people you will never please - but, what about the people whose opinions do matter to you?  Are they learning something about the beauty of life from your example?  Or do most of the perceptions you exude negate the world around you?

I am opting for more cheerful scribblings mailed with love.  What about you?