“You and the Park”

I am looking at the bark of a pine tree, wondering if it has always been orange and purple and only now do I notice.

Children’s voices from two yards over giggle across the drive.  At this distance, it sounds as if the youngest is squealing over the inequities of freeze tag:
threatening to go tell Momma:
threatening to quit the game.

You can hear the highway from here if you sit very still and don’t hum.  And there are birds.  Red ones.  Their songs aren’t as pretty as some of the more plain ones, but you can’t have everything

And speaking of everything, I wish you were here.

“The List”

TOTALLY grey: nothing dramatic:
no major cloud bursts: no THUNDER or tornadoes:
no bright spots where the sun has broken through with its goldenness.
Just a low layer of grey and a faint, unnoticed drizzle until your hair is damp, or you need your wipers.  After 41 days of NO RAIN at my house, this dull eerie blue lit sky is a big “YES” to me, or rather to my son.
I prayed for rain.  I prayed for rain even if it would ruin barbeques and out-door birthday parties.  I prayed for rain on Labor Day.  (It is not like it mattered.  The lake is so low it has gotten unsafe for swimming anyway.)
Re-reading my previous chapters, I see where I said
“I am not going to pray for rain.”  (Here is a fine example of my fickleness.  If swinging were in the Olympics, they would want me.)  Maybe that is why I liked to swing so much as a child-
Back and forth - up and down - manic depressive (or bi-polar, what ever) all that wishy washy not having to decide and a tickle in your tummy too.

Not until my boys, did I realize that swinging is a skill: a motor skill, where your muscles, nerves and mind all learn together.  “I have been told” a healthy mind doesn’t forget a motor skill.  That no matter how long it has been since you have ridden a bike, or skated (or been swinging) a little rusty practice
and it will come back.  It is as if the mind, nerves and muscles all get together to cheer each other on: what one part may have forgotten-the other may remember and they share information.  They say “Oh yeah, I remember this.”

Evan and I were discussing a TV program where the subject came up of how to get a Cocoa Puff out of a four year olds nose.  The answer was cute enough - “Crunch & Blow” but it carried our discussion to sinus cavities and our family history of just who and what got things stuck when and where.  (I think Mother and I are the only two in both sides of the family who haven’t had a “nose” incident. 
(My sister, Cherry, had to go to the emergency room with the small tip of a Bic pen in her nostril.  She came this close
*see drawing below
to having surgery.)
My oldest son, Elliot, got a screw bolt stuck up his nose when he was six, and since he couldn’t blow his nose (Although I am not sure he had enough lung power to blow out that hunk of metal if he had known how to blow!)  We used the needle nose pliers.
I know, I know - we have been told NEVER, EVER to
do that again, but at the time it made a lot of since.  We were actually proud of our doctoring at the moment.

When Evan heard that his Big brother had not been able to do something (blow) he could do at an earlier age, a power came over his face.  I could see hours of embarrassing torture in Elliot’s future.  I had to stop the madness before it started.
I reminded Evan that there was a time in his life, when he couldn’t blow his nose either,
and then started the swinging-making a crazy sort of sense.
Evan snorted his nose like a horse and beamed, “You mean it is a skill?!”
Yes, a skill.  Of all things: yes, nose blowing is a skill.  A skill like swinging, dancing, typing, writing, reading, cooking, playing the piano, driving-etc. etc. etc....  Of all the things to learn and do, nose blowing is on the list.

Although it might seem pretty low on the list, that is -
until you have a Cocoa Puff or a Fruit Loop lodged just out of nail reach, then it comes in a good first.
Now, where does the grey sky come in?  Why are we nose blowing when we started with weather?  Well it all reminds me of skills we have, and skills we think we have.

I thought I was a pretty skilled prayer, but now I wonder.  All those days with no rain - and me - praying, praying, praying.  One day I was in the front yard feeling sorry for all the wilted foliage, when I saw a small dark cloud crossing over.  Immediately I fell to my knees saying please, please, please.  The mail carrier drove by but I didn’t get up - I went right on begging - whining and begging God for rain.

And the sun came out.
Then yesterday, Evan heard me praying
(Well actually by then I was beyond praying - I was hunting Bible verses and Old Testament Precedents on rain amounts and righteous living per portions: wondering if all this was because the school librarian had continued to check out books during the morning’s “moment of reflection” or if it would only rain after the weather man broke down on camera and wild haired yelled “PRAY!  FOR GOD’S SAKE, PRAY!”)
and Evan prayed.  He said
“Dear God, please fill up the truck.”

Now this is where Evan’s view of God really shows.  You see, I have to explain to you about how Evan and Elliot measure just how “good” of a rain we have had, by how much rain water collects in the back of Leslie’s truck.  (Nothing like dirty water in a truck bed to a couple of country boys.)

Evan expected God to know his truck gauge, the drought situation, the Old Testament promises.  It was as casual as if I had called Leslie and said “Oh yeah, Pick up some milk.”
You would think I would be glad for the rain that came just a few hours after Evan asked,
but my carnal side is sticking out. (Excuse me.)  A little teeny weeny part of me wants to complain - “What?  My prayers aren’t good enough?!”
Don’t get me wrong or do,
but I have learned something.
Next time I have needs, I know who to get in agreement with and ask for prayer - My Son -
and on his “Skill List” with nose blowing, shoe tying, knot tying, biking and swinging, he can add praying.

That’s my boy!