briefly, year old beans and a reflection on life

Months become years in a single day.

My daughters had their first birthday today. The beans are ten inches longer, fifteen pounds heavier and will be walking before we know it.

We’ve been celebrating throughout our week-long return to Missouri, and tonight I remember why I love this part of the country. A hot, humid day gives way to a pleasant evening, the scent of flora fills the air–magnolia and rose, if my sense of smell is accurate–and I can write with a hot cup of coffee, the Koss PortaPros delivering the tunes–Blind Willie Johnson to OK Go to Dylan to Butterfield Blues Band thus far–and a perfect breeze onto the back porch. It’s positively idyllic. You should try it sometime.

Life is fast and slow at the same time, which is why I wanted to take today to be intentional, take mental snapshots of my girls, then tonight to soak in the evening. Solstice was just a few days ago; everything in nature now is mere posturing until autumn puts the world back to sleep. Days expand, only to move faster, only to shrink and slow down; in December, the cycle reverses, as death gives way to new life.

For everyone but adults, that is. We are beyond the tipping point.

My children are on one side of life, I’m on the other. And yes, 32 isn’t old, per se. I get that. That said, few things give me pause like Summer Solstice has for many years now, and realizing that my babies are technically toddlers who are blooming and growing, I’m forced to contend with the reality that when they start walking, life is only going to accelerate that much more. My leaves will, in time, turn brilliant shades of gray, eventually fall off and winter will set in in due course. Nothing in life forces you to face your mortality like your children slamming life’s accelerator to the floor.

Yes, these things will happen. Not tonight, though. I’m going to enjoy the cool of a summer’s night, enjoy the satisfaction of my beans surviving their first year of dealing with me as a bumbling, woefully inexperienced father, enjoy these days when the days really aren’t getting shorter and rest tonight in preparation for re-entry into life after a long day on the road tomorrow.

Rest–from the daily grind, work, family, even from vacations, which can be as stressful as the grind, if not more so–is a spiritual discipline. We were made for community, for work and for the myriad responsibilities which are part and parcel of participating in life, but we were also made as creatures designed to be in balance with ourselves, which is to say that we were made to rest as much as we were made to work.  Imbalance, then, is a sin issue against God and ourselves.

The world can have me in the morning; the twins will undoubtedly demand us in a few hours. For now, in this moment, I choose to rest. It’s been a long year, and there will be many more of them to come. They will bring with them new, great and terrible concerns such as are requisite with raising girls and being Dadadadada to them. For now, I write a few words, let the breeze carry the faint smell of bonfire and blooming trees, and let Damien Jurado take me further into the night.

Good night.

PS – Also, a happy birthday to DEJ, Sr. My daughters have fantastic taste in their chosen birthday. Many happy returns.


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