Over breakfast on Saturday, Mother and I solve the problems of the world, then wash and put away the dishes.
It’s a brilliant 67-degrees outdoors, a day made for something special. Daddy asks to be wheeled to the porch so he can sit a spell. Just a few months ago, before he took a tumble from the roof and messed up everybody’s holidays, he would have been a busy bee on a day such as this, wandering around the property, raking pine needles from yesterday’s winds. Today, he can only sit and observe.
I guess this could be called one of Daddy’s “winter” season. No matter our age, we all have them, those seasons that drain us of life, leaving us barren and oftentimes broken. I’ve had winter seasons during summer’s fury, when the stifling heat couldn’t stop the cold that seeped into my bones. But despite winter’s harsh reality, there are lessons that can be learned. Patience. Humility. The value of stillness and solitude.
After I get Daddy situated on the porch, I go inside and grab the newspaper and return to tackle my favorite section—the puzzle page.
Living a slower pace has its definite advantages. I hate to brag, but I’ve become quite the whiz at unscrambling the Jumble words. Generally, in less than a minute, I’ve got them all solved, but CURPSE is giving me a fit today. I hem and haw and fidget with the letters and, suddenly, a light flips on and the answer comes to me: SPRUCE. Satisfied, I set the paper down and inhale the moment—me and my dad, side-by-side on the front porch.
Across the lawn, shadows are at play. Daddy and I talk of the little rabbit that used to dart in and out of a certain bush. I ask if he still appears on occasion.
Daddy doesn’t hesitate. “Yeah, last time I drove up in the drive I saw him hopping toward the house.”
Silence hangs lightly between us. Daddy’s recollection of driving lays against my heart and aches a little. I breathe a prayer that he will drive again, will walk again, will roam the property here and do all of the things he loves so much again. Lord, I believe.
I pick up the newspaper and unscramble the rest of the words, then notice Daddy’s head tilted up. He is staring at something across the road.
“Look at that little bird at the top of that tree over there,” he says, pointing. “You see him? He’s hopping from limb to limb.”
It takes me a minute, but eventually I spot a tiny creature, moving with lightening speed, skipping among the barren branches. In the stillness, I hear a chirp and then another.
It’s barely February, but already the music of spring is in the air, that magical time of year when nothing becomes something, when anything is possible.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).