Ever have a day or two in a row where everything falls into place, days when you say to yourself, “I don’t want this to end. Can’t we just keep this going, please?” Let me explain.
Recently I was able to spend a couple of days with some of my family after a long absence due to my military obligations that often keep me away from home. My wife and I drove down to the lake where we live. We loaded our dogs in my truck, drove down to the water, leashed the dogs and walked some. It was evening. Some boats were on the water. We watched a girl on a float being pulled across the lake’s surface by her family in their boat. The girl laughed and then screamed seemingly simultaneously, as her father circled the boat and made his daughter jump the boat’s wake over and over. Then we watched the inevitable: the girl bounced, the ski rope was ripped free, and we saw the girl laughing and bobbing in her orange life jacket, waiting for her dad to swing the ski rope by her again for another tug.
My wife had our King Charles Cavalier on a green leash by the rocks. My wife had her hair down. The sun’s last gold of the afternoon was at the western edge of the lake. Except for wake from the boats, the lake was smooth. I pulled out my phone and snapped a picture of my wife when she was unaware of my watching her. She was in one of the expressions I adore. (There’s something about her in spring/summer, when her skin has turned brown, her eyes shine as if she’s got a funny joke she wants to tell, her sandals reveal her pretty toes, and she’s unaware I’m watching … but these moments I wish I could freeze, bottle them for future openings, and so I snap a picture.)
The light was just right off the water. The girl out on the lake was up and on the float again, way out now on the far end of the lake, and being pulled across the water. A kayaker, nearer us, eased by silently, searching for hungry fish at dusk. I glimpsed one of the man’s rods as he paddled. Aflorescent green curly tail of a plastic worm swayed in rhythm to the man’s paddle strokes.
My wife comes over to me and takes our German shepherd from me so I can cast a few times. The water is crystal clear. I can see the lures I use, even several feet down. Cast, retrieve, cast. No bites, yet I see fish just below the dock on which I stand. It’s okay. This is not an evening for complaint, I can tell, but for thanksgiving.
After several minutes, I pack up my rod and tackle boxes, and rejoin my wife who has been standing with the dogs on up the shoreline, and we walk back to my truck for the drive home.
The next day, we go to a local restaurant where we eat raw oysters and talk and people-watch in an artsy section of a nearby town replete with great restaurants and nightlife. We go home later and watch a movie that causes us both to weep and laugh together.
We talk of the kids. Our son is with friends for the weekend. Our daughter will be home tomorrow, too. We are thankful. My wife speaks of what she is singing tomorrow at church. It grows late. I take the dogs outside for a bit and hear the cicadas thrumming.
And it bears upon me—that my times like these cannot be manufactured, but they unfurl as if by providence. It is enough to make me, as our dogs rustle through the dry oak leaves in front of the house, say aloud, “Yes, thank you,” and know I have been heard.