She ran out the front door, the screen door slapping the frame behind her. She didn’t have time to explain to Momma where she was going, but she could hear her holler from the porch, “where ya goin’? It’s almost time for supper.” But that didn’t slow her pace, she was headed to her secret place, just down the street. An empty lot filled with nothing but trees and the good Lord. She’d climb her favorite tree, the one that looked like it was bent over, with a limb brushing the ground as though inviting you to climb and sit among the leaves and critters.
She flew up the limb and perched proudly, it was not every day she finished chores in time to enjoy the solace of this quiet place. She blew a defiant piece of hair from her face as she watched a butterfly flitter past.
She marveled at its beauty.
Momma said God made all things and it never once occurred to her to question. “That’s a purdy one, Lord” she said out loud for the crickets to hear. She closed her eyes and listened to the forest creatures talk up a storm and for just a moment she felt the sunlight tickle her nose. This was her place, her haven, she relished in it while her legs hung gently, swinging rhythmically in the air.
She was a peculiar kind, or so it seemed. She didn’t quite fit in with the girls and she didn’t quite fit in with the boys. She liked to race anyone willing but she also liked wearing dresses. So, much to Momma’s chagrin, she lived with skint knees and shorts under her carefree frock. She loved dirt and playing with dolls. She rode bikes with the boys and played kick ball in the street with neighborhood kids until the sun kissed the horizon.
Momma said she was her own person, and even though she didn’t quite know what that meant, she knew it must be good if Momma said it.
When I was a young child, it never occurred to me to question anything my mom and dad told me. I believed them without question. I trusted them, I had spent a lifetime, albeit a young lifetime, trusting in their love and provision.
And they had not failed me.
Not that they were perfect, it would never be fair to expect the impossible from humanity. But, they made sure I was cared for and in my little heart that was enough.
She loved pretending more than anything.
So today she sat on her branch and made up a tale that would keep her occupied until supper.
Her mind was filled with cowboys and Indians, princes and princesses, and all her imagination could muster. Before she knew it, the shadows of the trees around her stretched long and she knew it was time to go. She carefully climbed down the tree and headed home. The smell of chicken frying enveloped her senses as she flew back into the house the same way she’d left.
Screen door slapping behind her.
Chicken and Mashed potatoes.
Her very favorite.
She ran up and stood beside Momma as she removed the last piece of golden fried goodness from the old black iron skillet. “Careful, hon, the grease is hot,” Momma said and gave her a gentle nudge.
As she backed away from the stove, she wiped her brown stringy hair out of her eyes with a dirty hand.
“Go and wash up, now, it’s time for supper.”
The grumble in her belly told her Momma was right.
Sometimes I feel sorry for kids today. So few get to enjoy lazy summer days or imagine their way through boredom. Looking back I feel lucky to have had a childhood before so much technology was invented.
I am older than the internet.
That’s crazy because I can hardly remember life without it.
But, what I do remember is sweet and I wouldn’t trade it.
I had this conversation with my adult kids and they don’t understand what I mean. The thought of not being able to ask Google is too much for them. Dewey Decimal System may as well be a foreign language, they are so grateful to have access to the whole world.
But I’m not sure I agree.
I find myself asking more and more often, is there such thing as too much information? I’m not talking about the “TMI” we throw out in a conversation where “over-sharing” makes you blush. I mean is it possible to know too much? I haven’t studied this, certainly wouldn’t claim to be any kind of expert on the subject. I am just an average citizen who turns on the news and suddenly feels like I need to breathe into a paper bag.
Why do I know what is going on in every corner of the whole world?
There is nothing I can do about it and yet I bear the grief of their pain and suffering.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know the Bible says we are to love each other and look out for each other, but I would argue the magnitude of all the information that’s available can make us feel paralyzed.
Some of you will read this and disagree with me.
Maybe, you could argue, I don’t understand how to ingest and process all the information. And, maybe, you’re right. But, maybe, just maybe, knowing too much is part of what’s keeping us up at night. Maybe it’s why our nerves stay frazzled. It could be part of the reason we overreact when small things happen. We carry so much sub consciously that any little thing sends us over the edge.
Maybe we need to get outside more and get away from the internet.
Maybe our world needs to get a little smaller so we can cope with all of the information in a healthy way. Take walks, ride bikes and get back to simpler times. Back to front porch swinging or sitting on the back porch with a cool glass of tea and a good book. I’ll be the first to say that modern technology is amazing and helpful and I don’t want it to disappear, I just think managing it better would do us all a lot of good.
Satisfied after a filling dinner, she went outside and stood in the front yard and stared up at the stars. She counted the really shiny ones and marveled at how they hung without strings or anything to hold them. Each one twinkled, trying its best to get her attention.
And then it hit her, she loved her life.
There was no better place than right here, right now.
Good night, beautiful world, she whispered to the fireflies, see you tomorrow.
Just wondering, when is the last time you went out and stared at the stars??