"Lord, make us stronger," Jane prays. A spruce, gargantuan stake half down the lawn, covers us with cool shadow. We pause, small in it's elephantine height.
"Hmm," I sigh, an eyes-open-prayer between us.
"Don't make the task easier," she says. "Make us bigger to handle it. Amen."
Amen settles, a invisible barrier, a hush.
"Amen," I whisper.
"Here, we better hurry outside," I say. "Everyone is waiting for us."
"Oh," Joe says, urgency absent from his face.
"Huh?" Jack motions over his shoulder, forehead creased, "What?"
"Hurry, come on, we have to get out there," I motion toward a door at the front of the offices. "Tell the girls to hurry up in the bathrooms," I say.
Jack jaunts two or three steps to the back and calls to them. Hand lightly on Joes neck, I steer him forward.
Finally we emerge in blinking bright sunlight out the front door, a small assembly gathered around the organic farm tour guide.
"Wow," I say, children gathered beneath my elbows like feathers. "That was an adventure." Myra nods, emphatic. Jack sloughs a grin in farmer fashion. "That road, wow," I say. Six miles of the lowest grade dirt road, drained and washed away to ruts that could swallow our whole car. "I wasn't sure we were going to make it," I say.
"I was gripping the handles on the booster with both hands," Jack says.
"I was actually praying to God," Myra says.
"A chance to be brave," I say.
"Yep," Jane says.
And yet a retreat ensues. There on that windblown mountain top of a farm, we let the hours scroll by like braille on our finger tips.
Later Jane leans in and tells me, "Ya know," she says. "It was actually so spiritually relaxing there. It was a chance to be brave and a chance to get away from this inferno." She nods toward the living room, but I see the giant pine out front, and see it's more than the room. It's all the hard assignments.
We nod, quiet observation a bond between us.
6292. Rotisserie chicken. And twice in one week.
6293. A last minute field trip to a lavender farm.
6294. Dear friends join us for dinner on the lawn and Badminton. Gems of friendship.
6295. We take evening walks as a family.
6296. We mow the lawn and weed the gardens and harvest the first row of radishes.
6297. I save up to buy something special, have it bought out from under me, and then find a different treasure I like more.
6298. Craig finds a new used bbq to be our oven until the kitchen is remodeled.
6299. One by one we settle into patterns of joy. Sometimes it's the hard work of choosing happiness. Other times, and more often than I would even hope, small moments of joy find us and we take them by the hand and enjoy them.