Sunday, August 23, 2009


My brother told me a story about his life the last month. Several times he has walked somewhere, or stopped at a stoplight, gone to unlock the door to his condo, and heard a single chirp from a cricket. Just once, that familiar echo of nature, but only once, cut short by the move to the next thing, next time, next place.

Outside my living room window is the sunset of the hottest day of the summer in Denver this year. My gray long-hair kitty is sitting at my shoulder, and I am on my couch at an odd angle that has my back tucked into the corner. This morning for church I put on my navy blue linen dress that is so cute, and a white crochet jacket with three-quarter sleeves. Sunday school was out on the grass, half in the shade, and I kicked off my little white sandal-heels to cross my legs beneath me. Clouds have gathered and opened back up today, taunting me with the prospect of a storm I know won't come. All afternoon my eyes have wanted to close on themselves, but between this and that phone call or vacuuming or chopping ice in the kitchen, real sleep has been beyond me.

My grandpa is in the hospital again, and facing once again the possibility of moving away from his home, the most peaceful little retreat I've ever known, in a small Kansas town dominated by wind and the hum of grain elevators just a block from the old city park. Mourning doves coo at dawn there, and cicadas chant the dusk on its way to night. My grandparents have a clock that chimes the quarter hour, and so you know that time is passing even as you know just as surely that it doesn't matter, because that place outside of everywhere is eternal. Except I know that someday it won't be there, not for me. Not the old house with the dull tile and the bugs and endless shelves of pack-rat treasures or the bright garden now boasting a mere crop of weeds. I can visit the park, and walk the streets, even drop in to the post office, but someday, closer every hospital visit, the summer spot, the holiday feasting hall of my grandparents' stained-glass and curio decorated living room will be locked, sold, inhabited by others. History really lives there, in Bird City, Kansas, in a way that it cannot in the suburbs that have been my lifelong residence.

And a friend's aunt died, losing her battle with cancer. It's a passing day, nothing happening in it but the slow observation of the changes you dared not believe would come. Maybe it's a hoping day, for as the birds fly across the rays of sun outside my window, the scarce breeze ensuring each glance is just a touch different than the last, I know that all these old things under the sun are endlessly changing. Some other August day I will sit again and wonder at the life that laps about me, tides ebbing and flowing, forever eroding the shoreline into shapes that have never been.

My daddy, who had gone to be with his dad and mom, is back now, the deliberate slide of our van up the slope of the driveway into the garage, with the elegant steadiness of practice and weary routine. He meows at the cat, now stalking in the kitchen, retrieving suitcase. Soon he'll pick up the television remote. I know, because somethings are the same.

To God be all glory.

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