Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lights of Beauty and Peace

In the past 14 days I’ve grabbed tightly to minutes, if not hours, when everything seems to be perfect, or as perfect as I would want it all to be. It did not take loss to open my eyes to life’s precious moments, as I have always taken a step back to see the world in its most extraordinary being, instances when beauty and peace intertwine and make me catch my breath, however since the death of my mother-in-law two weeks ago, my sensitivity has been greatly heightened.

This happened Saturday when we did nothing that took us from the house. Having gone out to dinner as a family the night before, we took time to sleep in and watched television together in the morning. In the afternoon I cooked some soup and my husband built Emma and I a fire in the living room so we could reach cuddled up together on the couch. It was a simple and peaceful day. Perfection. And yesterday afternoon, as my husband and I got home from work together, it happened again. All in the midst of hanging our outdoor Christmas lights.

I’d bought a new strand of pretty white lights a day or two before. I thought of how they might look pretty tracing the two little trees near my adirondack chairs in the back yard. I started stringing the lights while Eric worked to clear the back deck of its summer furniture. The dog happily ran in and out of the woods chasing a soccer ball. The sun set and, in the near darkness, it began to snow. I can’t possibly recreate every little piece of the scene that unfolded next, but it included laughing with Eric as I convinced him to stand in a certain spot under a tree branch so I could throw a spindle of lights to him after catching some on a tree. It included that puppy being most excited to have her masters outside throwing the deflated soccer ball for her, over and over again. It included untangling several strings of lights and not minding at all when I anticipated my husband’s words, “I’m glad we’re doing this together”.

The air grew chilly and I pulled my hat down over my ears. I heard the rustling of the leaves as they began to dance in whirlwinds. I saw the glow of those big old-fashioned bulbs adorning the garage and front shrubs, and after we headed back inside, I smelled the roast chicken I had popped in the oven before our decorating work had begun.

Fifteen minutes after we had gone inside ourselves, our children returned home together after a basketball game.  Each had seen our afternoon’s work of course and had noticed the new set of lights I had placed in the backyard. In his teasing way, Paul came into the kitchen and pointing at the backyard said, “Hey! What’s this?! That’s new!” My daughter added, “We stopped on the driveway and looked at everything before we drove all the way up”.

I imagined the two of them pausing, sitting in the car together in the driveway, taking in the glow of the lights side by side, and I smiled. For they too take time to step back to see instances of beauty and peace, especially when it is in their own own backyard.

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