Owning a piece of earth

We found the house taking a long detour home from worship on Sunday. When we turned on the street I thought, “I could live here.” Maples, the first in leaves, lined the street.

When we stopped outside the house, I thought, “I feel as if I already live here.”

An hour later, as we waited for the realtor to unlock the door, I felt my heart beat in my throat. Louisa was on my hip; we’d woken her from a nap to see this place, and she was groggy and her fist clung to my shirt. And inside, I kept saying, “Dave. This is it.”

They flipped light switches and pushed garage door buttons, and banged the side door open and shut going in and out, claiming the house with their informality. “Are we going to live here?!” the girls asked as they ran around the back yard. Louisa’s grogginess morphed into hyperactivity.

“I think we are,” we said.

This place is going to be home, God willing. 

[…]

Lighting candles, praying for sidewalks

I lit a few thrift-store votive jars tonight at dinner.

“God, thanks for these candles, which remind us that though today is pretty ordinary, it’s actually a holy thing, all of us around this table. Thanks for the sunshine outside, still, and this food, and these people.” And we threw in some more words for “hurting places” (my children’s term for what other kids call boo-boos), and for the monkey bread on the counter. I’m here, all the way: cold linoleum under my socks and all.

Flickering lights in those glass jars held my attention throughout that whole meal. I’d taken them down from the shelf this afternoon to wash them. The effect was mesmerizing. The sparkle! Drawing me back to right here, right now, this cliched-but-true spilled milk; these kids complaining because it’s bean soup again. Dave here for dinner, thank God.

We’ve had a string of afternoons of ennui, these girls and I: a pudgy-fingered toddler rips a plastic T. Rex from her sister’s bony grip, and they both scream, and my voice is thick with fatigue. I bark: “Please. PLEASE.” I cannot break up another fight over plastic prehistorics. I cannot: Not until April.

[…]

And about those sidewalks

In the days before homes and hearth-fires, house crickets were depressed wanderers; aimless. Every other creature on earth seemed well-suited to their homes; why not the cricket? Their grasshopper cousin cajoled them to try out their legs, to no avail. The ape suggested, since they were so unhappy, they just give up. And the mole: the Read more about And about those sidewalks[…]