Poetry. I wish that I had poetry in me tonight. The moon swells and with it swells my spirit, but it feels like there are no words. The window at the stair landing looks out over the pasture where the full moon rises – we stop there and gaze in silence, and then I tuck them into bed.
I didn’t intend to step outside, but I obeyed the compulsion when it came, and my own bedtime found me walking rows in the blueberry patch. The moonlight danced on the raindrops still clinging to the new growth, some branches right at eye level, some many feet overhead. I don’t know how many years it’s been since the patch has been pruned, but we made our first attempts on Sunday. On this January night walking through the blueberry canopy, though, I wanted to keep them just as they are forever, thick tunnels sparkling beneath the moon.
I kept walking, hearing Moses’ voice in my head, “every place where your foot steps shall be yours.” The Israelites walked the length and the breadth of their land, and I walked through the walnut orchard, down the slope, across the lower pasture. Not quite the length and breadth, but something whispered: still holy. The far corner of the pasture sang and I planted my feet by the creek’s edge, slowly turning in circles to take it in.
This old farm. Every day, a question. Worth buying? Better to let go? Should I really let it get into my very blood before we even know the outcome? Standing silently, I traced the constellations, traced the moon, those old friends, with me in all our travels, with me in every move, in every state and continent. My eyes roved to the firs, the hazelnut trees on the bluff, the walnuts above the slope, the farm house, the barn. They looked like magic in the night. They looked remarkably as if they had never been as neglected as the blueberries, and as I thought it, the breeze picked up the secret of their sins and whisked it away.
But that’s neither here nor there, I told myself with a shake to the head. Here you are, Harmony, standing by a roaring creek, the frogs louder than the cicadas in Alabama in that tornado-laden spring – my memory jogged. “What’s the only thing worse than the sound of these frogs?” my teenager asked his brother the other day. “The noise of the cicadas in Alabama,” he answered before his brother could guess.
“You mean, what’s the only thing more wonderful than the sound of these frogs!” I called from the laundry room.
“What?” he called back.
“The only sound more wonderful than these frogs is the cicadas!”
“Mama,” he moaned, “you’re crazy.”
I loved those cicadas.
I love these frogs.
My mind felt too alive to stand still. All I wanted were my children. My daughter, writing stories upstairs in her bed. My son, alert in his. I knew they were awake, the night owl and the homeschooler. So I stamped back toward the house, up the muddy path that leads along the pond.
“Missy, do you want to go for a walk with me? Down to the creek?”
Her eyes took a moment to focus as she lifted them from her paper. “Now? In the dark?”
“Yes. It’s wonderful outside. The moonlight makes it easy to see.”
I tip-toed into her brother’s room. “Want to go for a walk in the pasture?” His smile spreads slowly across his face. I can see the love of life burning in his eyes. The night is thick with promise, and he’s game.