Pan over to a peaceful garden scene with birds chirping merrily and a lone person happily on hands and knees with dirt under her fingernails. After straightening up to survey the gardens around her, she sighs and appreciates the green growth all around her. She shakes out of her reverie and unloads most of the trunk to pull out the hose and sets up the sprinkler. A few harmless drops of water land on her hat and shoulders, and though the water is cold, she smiles as she thinks of how much those moist seeds and tiny seedlings will soak up the moisture. She checks the time and hurriedly returns to the car so she can start supper and boil some eggs for lunch.
In our next scene, the family is bustling to get to the farmer's market and downtown library before the noon rush hour. The clouds could spell rain, so our busy mom checks the internet to find out when the experts expect the clouds to overflow and send their droplets down to earth. Not until the evening. And with that news, the mother asks her son to start wheeling the bikes out of the garage. As the final items are being shoved into bags, the family notices big fat droplets hitting the ground. Just as soon as they started, they stop. A quick family meeting results in a consensus that biking is still the way to go, and a little bit of rain won't get in their way. The bike caravan shoves off and they are on their way!
With lunches happily purchased and enjoyed, our family heads to the duck ponds. Our family learned that feeding bread to the waterfowl can swing their diets out of balance and cause damage to their wing feathers. So the son happily pulls out individual bags of cereal he prepared (Red River, if I'm not mistaken), passes them out to the other family that has joined us and we start to make our way around the pond. The children run ahead and the toddler tries to convince the geese and ducks that she has the best cereal.
As the group is rounding the corner and on its way to the nesting site of the swans, the mother sees out of the corner of her eye her daughter (the older one) reaching just a bit too far to feed the geese, and toppling into the pond head first! The mother drops everything, but the little girl is back to the side of the pond, retrieving the bag of cereal she dropped, and pulling herself out in no time. She is scared and cold and wet from head to toe, but she was quick-thinking and strong. Her mama squeezes her tight and tells her so. The group quickly comes up with a plan to get this little one out of her wet clothes and warm and dry...the friends will drive her home while the mama, son and toddler bike home.
As the family bikes furiously, the skies open up. While it is likely a gentle rain and our family has brought rain jackets, they are soaked and out of breath by the time they get home. The little girl and her friends greet them at the back step, like nothing even happened. The little girl even cracked a couple of jokes on the way home about her predicament. The fright of the event appears to be gone.
The family moves through the rest of the quiet afternoon with the little girl drawing a warm bath with scented bath salts, reading and sewing. The rains continue off and on for the rest of the afternoon and soon the mother looks out the window to get a read on the likelihood of ball games that evening. And what she sees startles her. For to the east are sunny skies with harmless little white clouds dancing peacefully. But to the west are darker, more ominous clouds. A clap of thunder can be heard in the distance. Is the storm coming or going? As she looks closer, she sees that the storm clouds themselves are none too sure either. For they start slowly swirling and one group of clouds has broken off to form a circle. It's not a funnel cloud, but is this how funnel clouds, and eventually tornadoes, start? The son has noticed the cloud too and is also suspicious. He's ready to dart into the basement, and he quickly alerts his sister to the potential danger. To help the children control their panic, for fear can lurk in the unknown, the mother calmly tells the children that the cloud is nothing yet, but that we have been afforded the luxury of time if it does turn into something. Perhaps we could use our time to gather a few essentials...flashlights, a few bottles of water, super-special stuffed animals, the pet fish. By the time all the items are gathered up, the cloud has broken apart and looks wet, but harmless.
Feeling all is safe, at least as far as the threat of tornadoes goes, and not receiving any messages about ball games being cancelled, our first wave of troops head out the door. Only to return 10 minutes later lightly drenched (for the second time that day!). For the coaches made a last-minute decision that lightening and
We sense the day is now coming to a close. And what a full day it has been! As the older children are being tucked into their beds, their thoughts turn to what-ifs. What if a storm had come and they were not safe? What if they were safe but their parents were not - who would take care of them? What if no one but the fish were safe - who would take care of the fish? Big tears form in troubled eyes now realizing the mortality of us all. Hugs are offered, along with comforting words and reassurances that they are surrounded by an extended family who loves them and will take care of them. That, in fact, those who have passed before us are taking care of our four-legged friends while they wait for us at the Rainbow Bridge.
The evening draws to a close. The house is quiet save the sound of the wind rustling the branches and leaves on the trees and the odd car that races past. Thoughts turn towards brightening up the next few days, as we prepare for the summer solstice. Enjoying every last ounce of sunshine in our short summers. Enjoying all the mundane and outrageous moments of a family that lives and learns and loves together. For our time here, like the summertime, is short.