The last weeks have been swirled with thoughts of what was. The month has been filled with wonders of what could have been.
This past weekend the four of us piled in the car headed west to climb the snake roads to the mountains. We passed by orange carpets of fallen leaves and weaved through naked trees freshly exposed until we arrived at a little cabin held between slopes like cupped hands.
We pulled the last apple remnants from the orchards during the day and gathered skinny sticks to top off with white puffs to hold over the fire at night. We hiked the woods with roots popping up on the trails like arthritic fingers and the boys laughed from their bellies as they jumped over each gnarly knuckle. “He stuck the landing,” Jeff shouted while throwing both arms up in the air. I marveled at how a little boy jumping and landing could swell such pride and how a man encouraging his son could heat such love.
There is something about the mountains. I find them both mystical arrows pointing upwards and weighty anchors grounding me down. I cannot leave them unchanged. And maybe it was the black sheet of sky pulled taut between the clouds, and the million needle pricks of lights poking through. Maybe it was the afternoon sun blasting through the smudged cabin windows, catching the rising dust like the dome of a shaken snow globe. It could have been how the stream waters splashed up against the rocks like the quick snap of hand bells or the way the tree trunks swayed like a secret waltz to a silent beat. Perhaps it was simply that each of us seemed so ourselves, individually and together, comfortably sinking into the furniture of God’s first house.
I’m not sure, but I think that it was all of creation framing the picture of a family becoming and a family renewed. A family learning to kiss the ground and touch the sky.
Thoughts of what was and wonders of what could have been will likely always stand in our shadows. But their chill is ever so slowly beginning to melt. And I feel the thawing from the light of the beauty of all that is.