It’s the quiet ones I like best.
Days of summer.
And today was just that.
Sleepy wake-ups with Little Bear. Eggs & toast at the table. A little crafting with the littles before a lunch of PB&J pool-side. Water hose sprinkles and a coca-cola drink for a treat.
A chore-filled afternoon, snuggles on the couch watching Bambi, and then after dinner- when the hot afternoon suddenly collides with the more sought-after evening, we made our way into the backyard.
The sun started making it’s long descent as the jar flys began gearing up for their evening symphony. Their insect-sized voices ushering in the rhythm of a summer eve.
I sit in the slick Adirondack chair. Barefoot, clutching a summer fiction read. My three kiddos run sans shoes through the backyard grass.
Not a lawn of golf-course perfection, but a just-right yard for our farmhouse. A silvery, wire-woven fence separates our family space from the wide-open pasture where some of our cattle graze.
Sounds of “swing me” and giggles and a few raucous sibling squabbles fill the sundown expanse with my favorite kinda noise.
The youngest, one, whose learned to run and walk pushes around the Little Tyke’s car. This car, whose millage is high and paint is faded by the sun, has been beloved by both his siblings and his college-aged cousins when they were little. The oldest, swings beneath the verdant maple. And the middle, our only girl, stands on the slide and skis down. Over and over, again and again, she skis and giggles at her daring way of sliding.
And I sit. And watch. Because that’s what I do. I’m an observer. A memory-archivist. And my phone–that often robber of joy and being in the present–is locked up in my handbag in my house. It was purposefully left behind because I wanted to be purposeful in my time with my kids.
Because it’s the quiet days and nights I like best.
Watching the faces of my littles. Hearing their laughter. Savoring. Cherishing. Letting their little smiles simmer in my memory.
June was busy around here. Quiet frankly the whole summer has been bursting with life. And that’s okay. I like that, too. But I really love the nights of experiencing the sunset with all my senses.
From Memorial Day to just after the Fourth we had party after party. I lost count at seven. Three were birthday parties for my June bugs. And even though it was just family that attended, it was still high-party season. Then came the Fourth–where hundreds flank our lawn to watch fireworks boom from our farm. It’s one of my favorite nights of the year, but a bit boisterous. The type of night where you can’t quite hear the cicadas chirping their summer-time chants. And in the middle of all that we had a trip of a lifetime across country to California. One that was perfect in every way.
Our life has been boiling over with goodness, but it’s time for a bit of a slow, purposeful simmer.
Where we watch the sunflowers start looking westward toward the end of the day.
My kids are still playing, but it’s bedtime for the baby. So we go inside. He coos and sings as I rock him and put him down. Then me and the other two head back out of doors.
We walk alongside the garden and see a few watermelons that will be ripe and ready this August. Chickens saunter along the trail. And the guineas are heading toward their roost.
Then the kids invite me to romp through their secret paths. A maze that leads from our backyard to the upper hay barn. I accept their invitation with the understanding that I keep the trail a secret. I promise not to tell a soul.
We get to the hay barn and walk through the crunchy gravel toward the sunset. As we stand on the swinging gate, watching the cattle graze and the sun beam, I notice the time. 8:30. In two-weeks it will be going-to-bed time, but for now the sun is still flaming good-bye and we need to watch it say adieu.
Then there are lightening bugs to catch and constellations to spy. We aren’t ready for our beds.
Eric Church, in one of his songs says, “turn the quiet up and the noise down.” A few verses later it’s pretty clear he’s not talking about the kinda night I’m having, it’s also clear that turning the quiet up really is the “feel good to our souls.”
At least to mine. Because it’s these quiet moments I like best.
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