I can really tell it's summer--a whole lot less time is spent inside at the computer than outside in the sun, the garden, out of town. My youngest sister is visiting this week, here for a respite from the pressures of weddings (to plan and sew for--she made her daughter's wedding dress, the vests for the groom and his henchmen, a bridesmaid dress (or two) for her other daughter), a poor demented mother to care for, a fulltime job and being chief cok and bottlewasher for a farm family, various community commitments. Not to mention living with rheumatoid arthritis. She packs more into single days than I do into most weeks. Once the dust settled after her daughter's wedding, I told her she had to come here, sit on the patio, drink wine and sleep as long as she wants.
Instead we've been shopping. We've hit every fabric store in town, and now she's sitting at my machine, sewing strips together. This is apparently as relaxing as sleeping for her. We went down to my favorite park this noon, took a sack lunch of burritoes from my favorite local taco joint, and sat watching the sailboats and ducks on Bellingham Bay. She loves salt water, tides, the smell of marine air. The land-locked Palouse has beautiful skies, gorgeous rolling hills, the wide Snake river, but it's dusty and golden this time of year, with hot temperatures, and barely a breeze. Our city, on the other hand, is perched between mountains and Puget Sound and a calm, peaceful retreat for RE this week. As I write this she's sitting at my sewing machine, creating a breath-takingly beautiful quilt. She's working hard, but tells me she loves it. I hope so; I hope she's resting. I hope the stress of her life is floating away on the wind off the bay. I hope she goes home ready to face the endless burdens of her life.
In the next month our calendar is filled with visits of loved ones near and far. So I expect my blogging will continue to take a hit. It's what summer does to schedules. Back in the olden days when I was writing, I knew that the moment the kids dropped their empty backpacks on their bedroom floors at the end of the school year, I'd be lucky to write a page until they slung those backpacks, bulging with new supplies and hopes, onto their shoulders for the start of the next grade. I had high hopes that this rhythm would change once they grew up, but...life is still crazy in the summer, and I still have trouble sitting down in peace.
But I'll take it. I'll take the conversations, the activities, the visits from family and friends near and far. All these people are precious and of immense value. Sure, some folks have made different choices for their lives than I have, have chosen paths that seem impossible to me. But the conversations we have--like the unexpected phone conversation I had today with a beloved old friend whom I first got to know in a hot summer, just like this one, where we spent every day painting curbs in my home town (it took about 10 seconds and we were picking up a conversation we'd left 30 years ago), I'd forgotten how much I love this man, this old, quirky friend!!!--stretch me, change me, thrust me into a place where I know God is present and between us. In every encounter, whether easy or difficult, there's the possibility of eternity, and this I cherish. So let the party continue, and let me lean in to hear His whisper in the wind.