Our Magic Mountain
It's two weeks today. Two weeks that the children and I have been on this mountain, breathing deep the cool air, smelling the pines, listening to the birds and breeze weave a summer symphony.
We left behind heat and brown and the crunch of dead grass. We don't miss it. But husband/father, selfless man, who works so that we can be here, who stayed home to tend the animals... him we miss.
We arrived here close to midnight after winding our way precariously up switchback turns of dirt road, in the heavy dark of mountain night. I prayed as I steered, having seen massive elk mere feet from our wheels. At last we crunched to a gravelly stop in the driveway.
I unlocked the house door, returned to the van to retrieve sleepy children, and dropped my keys through the cracks of the porch. We peered down and knew... no more driving tonight. Relief.
The next day was a whirl of unpacking and readying, so much anticipation for what was to come... the reason for our visit. Balloons went up, signs were hung, miniature bouquets assembled. But still there was time to find old friends in the rocks.
Sunday dawned bright and beautiful. Fifteen minutes after I woke, still groggily getting dressed, an excited voice called, "There's a hummingbird in the house!"
Tiny flutterer, green with bright red throat, careened between high windows. For four hours. He kept us home from church. He knew, just knew, that the way out was up. But he was wrong. The doors were down. Finally I found hummingbird feeders in the garage and hung them in the open doors. He couldn't resist. Down he flew, and waiting on the other side, freedom.
Then the cooking began. And the questions.
"When will they be here?"
"How much longer?"
"So what is the earliest possible time they could arrive?"
"What would you say is the absolute latest they would come?"
"Do you think they are driving toward us now?"
I was standing at the sink when I saw a tall boy walk by the window, and I confess, I screamed. Because that boy was my first godson, my son's best friend, who lives 3000 miles away from us. And behind him came his sisters and my dear dear friend, his mother.
I was not the only one who screamed. The squeals and the laughter and the jumping... no bears would trouble this house on the mountain!
It was a chorus of love, a bursting out of a longing met and a hope fulfilled and old friends holding and beholding, and oh it was so very good. Yes, a taste of heaven, that reunion.
And then, of course, we ate. Because food always seems to be at the center of celebration.
The evening turned to night, the night to day, the days to weeks, and here we are together still... a tribe of vacationing loved ones. There have been plays performed and walks taken and outings made. There have been movie nights and cherry pit spitting contests and three-legged races. Puzzles pieced, games played... even a birthday party with presents.
We'll part one week from today. We'll exchange hugs and tears on the rim of the Grand Canyon, then one van will drive east and the other west. Three thousand miles is a long way. We don't know when we'll meet again.
But, and I know it sounds so cliche, but it's true... there is no distance in the heart. We'll drive away in body, but we'll stay with each other somehow. This mystery, this gift... that when you love, you don't have to be together to be together... all I can do is accept it gratefully.
And for now, give more hugs while I can.