Laughing in the Rain #SOL

The rain came down heavy. I could do nothing but squint my eyes, pedal harder, and laugh. “Now you’ll have something to write about in your journal tomorrow,” Tim joked. Oh, but sooo true. These are the stolen moments that make for a perfect slice of life– Getting caught in a summer downpour on a bike ride back from Dairy Queen.

It was a light dinner of chicken drumsticks on the grill, corn, and salad. You know what always comes after light dinners…ice cream! I sheepishly suggested it, “I would go on a bike ride to Dairy Queen later.” Tim never, I mean never, turns down ice cream.

We got on our bikes around 8:00. The sky looked dark, but the weather app said the rain wasn’t coming until 9:30ish. We left the Jeep and Subaru in the driveway with top off and sunroof open. “Should we pull the cars in the garage?” Tim questioned. “Nah,” I replied.

The bike ride downtown was pretty uneventful. The skies looks ominous, but we trusted the weather app. At one point we almost turned back to have ice cream at home, but decided to risk it.

DQ was abuzz with people. A softball team, kids and parents, people everywhere. We sat low to the ground on two parking blocks, the concrete stop at the head of a parking space, because every seat was taken. We enjoyed our ice cream (Thin Mint Blizzard for Tim, Hot Fudge Sundae with nuts for me) and people watched.

We felt the first drop of rain when we were no more than a block into our 25 block bike ride home. By the time we reached 7th Street, it was a downpour. I stayed to the right riding under trees hanging over the street for a bit of reprieve from the rain. We couldn’t help but laugh at ourselves. We took a risk for ice cream. Was it worth it? You bet!

Morning Porch Sittin’

Our rustic home for 3 days in Happy Valley, Tennessee

I turned over in bed and noticed the faint light penetrating the thin muslin curtains. Ah, morning time. I love the first streams of light and the soft nudge they give me to wake up and start my day in the stillness.

Brewed coffee in hand, I step out of the 100 year old cabin onto the front porch. The wooden screen door creaks on its hinges. I catch it carefully so it doesn’t slam. I breathe in the damp mountain air; feel the moisture on my skin of the fog rising off of the Smokies. I settle into the rocking chair with my books and notebook. THIS is what I came for. These next 120 minutes of time to think, reflect, observe, and be at peace in my mind.

I notice the chorus of little birds on the hillside across the quiet street. Swooping and calling in playful movements. So many varieties playing chase in the meadow.

My devotion and prayer time come first. I picked up a bible from the end table inside, inscribed with “Bobby Christian.” It molded to my hand, soft and malleable from years of use. I wonder what life was like for Bobby? Did he and his family attend the church two lots down?

A deer appears near the top of the hillside. His head on a swivel; frozen in place and looking for enemies. I beg him to relax and feel the safety of this place. He knows the area much better than I and the risk of being out in the open. Finally, he settles and feeds on the dewy grass.

Next up, notebook time. I let my mind process some of what the last month, last year has held. My role as instructional coach was put on hold to address many different needs in our building…tech support for teachers and families, teaching 6th grade math online, teaching 3rd-5th grade writing online, teaching in a very challenging 5th grade classroom in person for the last nine weeks, preparing for my son’s high school graduation and the open house that followed. Putting these thoughts on the page allows them to leave my mind; breaking the cyclical thinking attached to them.

My eyes search the unruly overgrown wire fence separating the road from the hillside. The green of the trees brings peace and calm to my being. I’m not sure what it is, but trees have this immediate effect on me.

I open Mary Oliver’s collection called Devotions. “I Worried” spoke to me. I love the last stanza: Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing. And gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang. Then I read “Passing the Unworked Field” about Queen Anne’s lace, how it stands straight on its thin stems how it scrubs its white faces with the rag of the sun how it makes all the loveliness it can. Sitting in a rocker on the porch of a 100 year old cabin reading Mary Oliver. The perfect setting to feel the essence of her poetry.

I hear a rustle in the cabin. The others wake to the start of the day. My solitude time is over, but I am filled up and ready for the family time ahead.

The view from the front porch