We’re easing into 2012 and looking back at our favorite Bigger Picture Moments of 2011. You can join in by linking up your favorite moment from the last year.
This is Sarah’s
This is the loveliest time of the whole year. Maybe even the loveliest day of the whole year.
The sky is full of wispy white clouds that blend invisibly into the endless blue, and the wind falls down in gusts. Nothing is standing still; everything shudders and rattles to the thrill of autumn’s rhythm.
On the blacktop road lies every color of leaf. They are, allegedly, dead. But to be alive with such color makes up for a shortcoming as insurmountable as death. Even the brown leaves, dull when still clinging to a branch, are infused with brilliance as they mingle with golden ochre, ginger, and ruby on the ground.
A burst of air kicks up a cluster of leaves where they rest. But they don’t simply scatter away with incoherence; they move in tandem. Maybe one or two started it, and the others in close proximity joined in the swirl. They become a whirlwind. A cyclone. A burnt and crumbling rainbow of color, marking a path of what might be destruction. Chaos, perhaps.
But the circularity of their dance seems too inevitable for chaos. It has to swirl. It has to gain momentum. What choice does it have? The wind is its only master, and nothing can stop the wind once its mind has been made up.
Except a brick wall. Or a parked car on the roadside. Or even, innocently, a child’s foot, placed within the circumference of the windy swirl.
Then suddenly, everything stops. The cyclone melts away into a carpet of leaves once more. Gusts may disturb them again, but never will the same group of neighbors make up that exact whirlwind. It’s disbanded.
The leaves can rest.
I’m bounding through the house in past-our-bedtime mode:
Pick out pajamas, gather tomorrow’s clothes, pick up those toys, the baby’s crying, the girls are being too loud in the bath tub, my eyes are burning, what time is it?, find the blankie, grab some towels, he’ll need a diaper, the phone is ringing, I forgot the laundry, Mia’s backpack!, ‘I’ll be right there’, the baby’s still crying, OUCH! (I stubbed my toe), please hurry, let’s go let’s go let’s go.
Then, in the hallway, my husband blocks my path. He stares down at me without saying a word. I try to move past him into the bedroom where there arethings that need to be done before bedtime can happen, but he stretches one arm out to the wall, and I’m pinned. I can feel the momentum building inside my chest – I have to move because I’m tired and the baby’s crying and the girls are up too late. I need to keep going. It’s a compulsion that I can’t control. To slow down or (good Lord – don’t even think it -) stop my forward motion is almost painful.
I sigh and raise my brow with irritation. “What?”
But I already know what he’ll say, and he knows that I know. So he says nothing. Instead, he pulls me to his chest – trapped – and forces me to pause.
I’m angry. I hate it when he does this. It’s a brick wall that I cannot escape. A foot in my whirlwind, messing up my perfect circle of purpose.
But I turn my head and rest it on his heart. He drops his face to my hair and I go limp inside, wrapping my restless arms around his waist. I breathe in the scent of his skin; even under his shirt, even after a long day, even with the smell of soap and chaos still swirling around us, even then – the scent of his skin is enough to make me calm.
My eyes close.
The baby is still crying. Someone is splashing with too much gusto in the bath tub. Tomorrow’s clothes are still unchosen.
But I am still. I have paused. He has made me pause.
When we move away from one another, towards our mutual but separate tasks, the carpet of necessary work is still under our feet. There are still gusts of disturbance and motion, but I know – I promise –
that I will not become a whirlwind again. Not tonight. I will rest. Things will get done.
They always do.
And this might be the loveliest time of our whole lives. Maybe even the loveliest day of our whole lives.
So while our family shudders and rattles to the thrill of this season’s rhythm, I’m thankful for the chance to experience it.
I’m thankful for the pause.
Live. Capture. Share. Encourage.