It is our last stop and it is a good one: the woods of northern Wisconsin. My family has gathered here for one week, one week out of every two years where we rally from all over the country and globe and make our way to this sanctuary of time and space. And it feels a bit like the calm, the respite before the storm.
Back at my parents house is a pile of overstuffed suitcases waiting to be carted to the airport within hours of our return at the end of the week. There is an 8 hour drive, a 14 hour flight, a 4 hour layover, another 4 hour flight, and a couple hours of customs, baggage retrieval, baggage loading, driving, and arriving at our new unknown home in the wee hours of the morning, that awaits us. I know we will get through it, but it still sort of looms there at the base of my skull, or sinking into my gut at certain hours of the day.
Here I sit though, with the lake shimmering like a piece of glass, glowing colors of the sky and almost faded sun. I can see the smoke drifting up from the fire out there near the shore, and the sound of children's voices floats in and out. The air is so clear and fresh here, the smell of pine scrubbing it clean with the rain that came through earlier-- and makes me think that Pine-Sol knew a good thing when they tried to bottle it. It all does me good: the quiet that teems with loons whooping and a breeze rustling high in the treetops, the nearness of my family and the brood of children that grows with each year, the Grace that prods us and follows us all along as we try to do this whole thing called "family" together. It does me good and it seems so much more a gift in its brevity and fullness. Like gulping down a mouthful of all the protein, vitamins, calories, antioxidants, and any other goodness you can imagine, before the fast comes on.
But we don't need to gulp, really. These moments seems full, with the beauty of place and people that are present, but there will be plenty of provision later too, when the place and people are absent and things grow a little more bleak. I do want to just drink it all in though. Feast my eyes awhile. Feast my hands on some chunky niece thighs and kiss freckled cheeks.