Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May days

This time of year, I see old childhood friends in Western Washington on Facebook posting their great amaze and delight at seeing a great orange ball in the sky.
Q: What do you do in Seattle during summer?
A: If it falls on a Sunday we have a picnic.

Growing up, I loved this time of year in Western WA. There was the anticipation of a final school bell and the start of summer vacation. Gardens were busting out. Long twilight was upon us. Pleasant evenings might be spent on Grandma Moore's patio in the gloamin. Listening in on adult conversations, surrounded by Grandma's gardens. Hanging baskets of fuschias attended by humming birds. Hoping for the offer of one of her tasty treats. Perhaps, best of all, one of last season's epic kosher dill pickles.

The vegetable garden was finally coming to life after April planting. It was a hopeful time for that 50' x 100' plot of beans, corn, squash, pumpkins and salad fixings. The reality of summer's weeds and tending it in summer's dry heat were yet to come.

May was a time of unpressured, unhurried family fellowship. The end of May and beginning of June would see older brothers and sisters heading off to summer camp or hurrying about town working summer jobs. Later in life, the end of May signaled graduations and my heroes leaving me behind for adventures in missions, college, world travel and grown up life.

In retrospect I suppose I think of May as the "last good time" together.  One June finally,  the youngest of we six kids would find himself  alone at home: mowing that enormous daisy patch we called a yard on his own; wishing for his big brothers and sisters; wondering about their lives over the horizon.  Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Saudi Arabia, Laos. Viet Nam, Thailand...

Finally, after some years the wishing waned and the understanding would grew that things change -- and stay changed never to return.

It was April 30 1976 that Momma died. That May we were, really, together as a family. We celebrated that Mother's Day with special purpose, intensity and appreciation.  That May was a time of loss but it was also a time together again. Really. Together.

And so I, the youngest, grew up to have my own adventures, my own lawn (and gophers) and to be "the one who left" to live in another state far removed from brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. 

20 years later, April 30 1996 our youngest was born. Poetic that. 20 years to the day. God's gracious provision and completion of us.  This new family? We were finally all together that May of 1996.

...and so now this generation of brother and sisters comes to what may be that last May in their lives when our little family are all, really, together.

It's a funny thing...  How you get used to seeing that orange light (almost) daily) here in SoCal.

The first few months or years it's almost annoying in it's persistance. I felt sometimes like saying "Go away sun! Take a day off. My eyes and my head need a break. I'm over stimulated by so much light. "
Then one day you realize you don't have any long pants anymore; that you have more flip flops than closed toe shoes, that there'll be no going home to Western Washington for you.

'No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.'  Heraclitus

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