It’s November. My whole family is sitting around the table for some hasty sandwiches, and an alarm sounds: beep-beep-beep-beep. Pause. Beep-beep-beep-beep.
The hubby investigates. “Carbon monoxide!” he calls out, anxious. “I think I’m feeling wobbly.” The kids are not pleased with the high-pitched sound (the beep, not my hubby’s voice).
“Let me go check it out,” I say, marching into my daughter’s room where the little machine is screeching. I press the button and hold to reset, then turn off the furnace and begin opening windows. All seems well for about two minutes, until the beeps resume.
“I’m coming,” says the fire chief when I call.
As we are sitting around the table popping chunks of frozen mango into our mouths, Xavi suddenly begins to struggle. He is 21-months-old, so the gag reflex is still in full swing. But he truly can’t breathe this time.
“Choking!” I sputter, “Xavi is choking!” (more…)
“Let’s go into the forest!” yells my girl from her cozy seat in the wagon.
It’s fall, and the soaring hair of the trees is towhead, mass of yellow shot through with light. That I might be doing dishes seems a scandal.
“Pomme. Pomme,” rises the little voice of my one-year-old. Why he begs for scarred crabapples full of astringent bite is puzzling, but I can’t say no. I love that my kids see the woods as a place of food.
But we don’t eat the mushrooms. Sweetpea gently caresses them with a stick, and then Xavi reaches out with pudgy hand and lops a cap off.
“Uh-oh! Uh-oh!” his tiny pointer finger tries to correct the mishap.
We continue. They climb back into the wagon for bouncy ride, bumping over tree roots and fallen walnuts with blackening husks, sharp smell that takes me back thirty years to the library grounds across the street from my childhood home.
They were black squirrels there, burying walnuts. Here in Michigan, it’s plump, red-furred ones, chasing and chirping and fluffing up the forest floor, little balls of contrariety.
Warm wind cascades through the canopy and I look up, suck in my breath. The sun is doing magic, lighting the woods with fiery fingertips, turning earthly scene into duet of glory. It is spacious, a cathedral of autumn’s joy, and we are taken in.
What is God like if in the dying He is still this beautiful?
“F–k you.” (more…)