Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Frog joy


Sometimes things do turn out just the way you imagine it. Year after year and traffic light after traffic light, I watched our girls grow ever older without ever having been divested of the notion that what God scooped up in His hands and rolled into a ball to form into the world was a big batch of concrete. I recalled my own youth of such easy sweetness—lazy days wandering the ravine that fell off behind our woods in New Jersey, digging in the natural clay, capturing turtles and baby rabbits, running through stinkweed and “quicksand”. And then later, combing the creek down the street from our home in Texas, swinging on thick rope over water cut limestone and riding bikes to town in the heat of summer to buy the latest 45 from Gibson’s. I compared this to their “playdate” reality, typically a two or three hour visit to the home of a friend by car where, as at home, they would be confined to a bedroom or a yard on a busy street and would never be out of the sight of an adult. As these trips had to be coordinated between two sets of working parents, there was little room for spontaneity. They loved their time with friends and always delighted in these arrangements, thinking them a treat as opposed to a simple by product of growing up. So I imagined, for years, the girls in a place where they could run farther than they were able, where they could learn the rhythm of seasons, where they could pop over to the neighbors’ and knock on the door to play.

In making the decision to leave everything and come here, we sometimes wondered if we were nuts. We’d spent 15 long, hard years building up a business in Houston that was finally humming along quite nicely and we were pulling up stakes with no guarantee things would work out on the other end. I like what Buechner says in “Secrets in the Dark”, that maybe the voice we should listen to most is the vioce of our own gladness, that which leaves us with the strongest sense of sailing true north and of peace, which is much of what gladness is. So when tonight I sat, as dusk approached, delighting in the squeals of my girls running across the open meadow, catching bugs and grasshoppers with their new friend from across the way, the light playing on the clouds and tree leaves, the birds and bullfrogs providing the soundtrack, my heart was flooded with peace.

Hayley had been trying to catch a frog since we got here, frogs being the only bit of nature she could get her hands on in Houston so she had grown very fond of them, but found Missouri frogs to be much more adept at evading capture. She amazed us by snatching flies (okay, so there are, occasionally, flies in the ointment) with her fingers in the kitchen which she said would, in the end, make her better at catching frogs, with the added benefit that she could also provide them dinner. We knew she’d get one in the end. And we are all very, very glad.

6 comments:

Deeanne said...

What a great picture and great fun. I will never forget capturing fire flies in a jar at night with my cousins in Tennessee. Missouri is sounding better and better to this city gal.

Karen Miedrich-Luo said...

The dominoes are a-righting in far-flung spaces, but they are standing tall and sure. Waiting only for Mark to find his particular spot on the map. DeeAnne, are you game?

Deeanne said...

Game for what? (Sorry. I was always the last one picked in school 'cause everyone always had to explain everything to me--even jokes.)

karen Miedrich-Luo said...

Game to join the other dominoes in far-flung places. Game to pack up and leave and go somewhere new. Game to play dominoes and watch them all fall with one push from a cosmic finger.... (Allison wrote about the domino effect early on in her posts.)

allison said...

no, I wrote about ordering domino's in far flung places...but they don't deliver here!

karen Miedrich-Luo said...

Star Date Tuesday, May 9, 2006, Allison wrote:

"Think of any wonderful thing that has happened to you. Then think of all the decisions that were made, by how many people, the logistics involved, the transactions that had to take place in what order, like dominoes falling in a one of those Guinness World record set ups, so to make what happened happen. Think of how if even one domino had been moved an inch it would have missed the next and everything else would have been altered and you might have taken a different path in life, might have had a different family, a different home, possibly even different health. Possibly undesirable things had to take place, too. And as the story unfolded, so did you, for better and for worse, and now here you are. "