“These are our few live seasons. Let us live them as purely as we can, in the present.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
When I was young, I felt most alive when I was outside. I still do. I remember cherishing days when the air was cool, crisp and fresh. The dew sparkled on blades of grass like diamonds, evidence of the thunderstorms that had passed during the night. The waxy leaves of the oak trees reflected the morning sun, as they shimmered in the breeze. I would hurry to finish my oatmeal and throw on my tennis shoes, anxious to go outside. With the dog fast on my heels, I would burst through the wooden screen door. The spring would creak, as the door slammed closed behind me with a clap.
The dog would chase squirrels, and I would commence the building of a fort or the making of mud pies. This simple work could take hours, and in between, I amused myself by sneaking over to the neighbor’s yard to feed the rabbits with plantain stems and white clover leaves.
I knew every boulder which could function as a hard seat. I was grateful for the trees that brought shade, a place to sit, hickory nuts to eat, or a platform to climb for a better view with which to contemplate my next adventure. The feel of the bark was unique to each tree. The trees made a particular sound when the wind rustled their leaves. The fir trees whispered, “hush…”, oh they had a lovely fragrance, and their wide branches cascaded low to the ground. I would crawl under the hanging boughs and sit on the soft, dry needles. The needles filtered the sunlight creating a soft rose colored glow and shade that provided a cool refuge from the noonday heat. There I would keep my treasures…sticks and rocks, pieces of ribbon and string.
I have responsibilities now. A career, a commute, food to cook, laundry to do, and the list goes on. These duties are a long way from mud pies and forts. My grandmother used to say, “never get old”, with a twinkle in her eyes. Now I understand what she meant. I still make it a point to appreciate the sky, the flowers, the rocks, the trees, and the One, who holds it all in existence.