Tuesday, June 25, 2013

When Summer Clouds Bring More Than Rain

I'm standing at the kitchen sink, looking upward through bay windows at the sky. It seems mirthless and ready to put down its haul; the moisture perfumes High Desert air. East of the Cascades, we have been asking each other when summer is going to finally come and it's this same question I put to the clouds as I scour the last of the breakfast dishes.

We think maybe her timing is off and we think ourselves ready.

The screen door at my side has stepped into its seasonal rhythm of open-shut-em, open-shut-em, and there are very few hours promised to rest. Over and over again springs stretch wide and then release, metal crashing and vibrating from the impact of children on a mission.

I clear drying oatmeal from the last plate and create myself an opening in an already full dishwasher. My boy calls and calls from outside and I recognize the tone in his voice. From his perspective it is urgent but he is not hurting; it has the ring of something-so-great-that-it-needs-to-be-shared. I set the machine to working and satisfy his request with my presence.

Arriving barefoot on stone steps, I see that his daddy has heard the energy in our son's voice, too, and now we stand just feet apart but on separate sides of the wall. His arms are resting on the bathroom window's brink, arm over arm, face to the screen. He's leaning way in and it's familiar to me--the way of a father moving forward to give himself, undivided. It's come back to me quickly, surprisingly, but I understand that my son and I are both fortunate to be acquainted with it. I had almost forgotten.

The boy has us both here and little brother and little sister stand back, toes tucked away from tricks.  We wait as he passes by the newer, shinier, red bike with training wheels in favor of older sister's too-small-for-her purple and pink one, without.  His toes touch, just barely, and he looks up at us when he has gotten himself just right. We know what's coming.

He pushes off, wobbly at first: toe-peddle-push, ground, toe-peddle-push, ground. And then he just gets it. Not yet familiar with the brakes, he allows himself to run into walls, and stairs, and all sorts of other things, just to break his momentum, but still he is laughing, not panicked, and eventually he gets those, too.

All day, he is in and out. He conquers bikes and climbs trees and before long the sky falls in puddles, like it said it might. And I see that summer in this place is not late after all, that I had just neglected what she looked like.

The rain rests and it is out-again for the lot of us. The ground mimics the sky now, with puddles like clouds, rimmed with the fir tree's silver lining.


I have broken my little blog silence by linking up with the 90th installment of Heather's Just Write , an exercise in free-writing our ordinary and extraordinary moments. Feel free to join us there.

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