Sunday, March 23, 2014

Winter and spring

It is the first day of spring, and a screen door bangs. My Grandpap moves into the afternoon's low light. He walks slowly, an oxygen tank over his shoulder where once a backpack rode when he summited mountain peaks. It wasn't long ago that he was hiking the trails of the Olympics and Cascades, but now he moves slowly along our gravel road.

Three weeks ago the rain fell cold, and an ambulance pulled into the carport alongside the red wagon and a soccer ball. The children converged at our window, watching Grandpap's door, recognizing the faces of those that bundled him onto the guerney and left with lights flashing. Grandpap returned home last week to a carefully crayoned banner, and fragile though he was, he smiled long when my sister placed the littlest one in his arms. Oh -- the medicinal value of a baby!

Today, in the damp green, children run, wrestle, laugh. The rain has stopped, and we are hungry for this promise of new beginnings, new life, sunshine after the gray. Mercy reaches for my hand, fingers gritty from the sandbox, and the big boys race through puddles on their bikes. I pull hand-knit wool over my ears, then gather handfuls of bright camellias. It is spring, but I can feel winter yet. I feel pulled between the seasons.

The children hear Grandpap's door and converge. Small legs churn and words tumble as the littlest ones realize he is out for a walk. They will trot behind or ride ahead. They will tell him stories that he may not be able to hear, but he will nod and exclaim. Someone will wade through a mud puddle and look for Pappy's response, and one will inevitably reach for his hand. They will share a walk in the sunshine, winter and spring, side by side.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Winter guests

They are always lovely, but especially now in the quiet gray of winter.
 The hummingbirds, typically spring and summer guests, lingered through the seasons.
The snow brought chickadees onto the porch, finding seed at a feeder newly constructed by Malcolm (a badge-earning project through the fantastic DIY).


We had the privilege of enjoying this varied thrush for a stretch as he regained his strength and bearings after a run-in with our window.

Within view of our feeder, we have a stack of favorite bird books and our binoculars. We are rereading The Burgess Bird Book for Children
and revisiting this fun resource.
We are grateful for these feathered gifts, winter guests.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Long before we even knew our family would be growing, she said she wanted a sister. Please, please, she begged. She wanted someone to clink teacups with and dress up and share her bunk bed. She talked about this sister for months, how she would learn to braid her hair and teach her ballet.
And then she said,
"I wish I had a sister that matched me."
I wonder which came first...the longing for someone to share a dollhouse or the longing for someone to look...familiar. I realize her desire to match someone has much to do with the fact that in our family and community, she stands nearly alone in her ethnicity and race. I ache, knowing that this desire represents so very much that I can't fully understand or give to her. So when the open doors led us to adopt from China, we marveled that sisters sharing a birth continent might just "match."
And, goodness, when God knits families together, He alone knows the colors needed to make something...match. I marvel at this, when black head bends to little sister's brown curls and when hands hold each other tightly -- one golden, one pearl. But their hearts? The same yarn woven
through and through.
Their hearts...they match.