August 25, 2011

empty spaces


Except for 15-month-old Lil' Snip chirping happily in his crib (his hours of waking and sleeping defy all hope of comprehension), the house is quiet. It is naptime, and even 9-year-old Sugar is sleeping. It was a late night, and my children do not sleep in.

Some late nights are worth it, though, and last night was one. Friends from Kansas visited – an almost-dropping-in visit – and while the mommies and daddies caught up, the children, who barely remember our last time together six years ago, became like brothers and sisters for the evening.

The wind raced unceasingly all evening, and the children raced to match it. Down the yard to eat supper under the heartnut tree whose nut-laden branches arch down to form a leafy room, just right for children's picnics. Up to the implement shed to “cook” in their “kitchens.” Back down to the Concord vine to feast on grapes. Up in the treehouse, crowded but happy. Down in the hammock for a “rowdy ride” (a sturdy hammock can double as a boat, should one be needed). Up on the zipline and down to the chicken yard. Up to the greenhouse, down, and down, just to run, to feel the wind.

When we finally waved them down the road, it was dark; an exquisite novelty for Sugar, Spice, & Nice, who are used to looking longingly out their bedroom windows at the perfectly good summer daylight a-wasting outside as we tuck them in.  Last night they went to bed tired, but joyful:  they had been out in the night!

Today the wind races on an empty yard. The children sleep, dreaming, probably, of their one-night siblings. The flute they made from a hollow pawlonia stick rests on the windowsill....

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