Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Hole in the Sky

She woke to the luxurious smells of organic decaf mixing with the crisp cool air swirling in through the window, which was raised open six inches to welcome the humidity-free freshening. The soft thrumming of a helicopter hidden in the still-darkness (at least that's the impression she had of the sound's origin in those first waking moments) wafted in with it. How strange...

The strangeness captured her attention, and as she mulled it, she gained inspiration. Time to blog again!

Our summer arrived in late-August this year, and didn't stay long. We made the most of it by delaying school an extra two weeks to devote as much time as possible to soaking up Vitamin D and swimming at the lake. I hope we'll remember and take solace in what we were thinking come next April 30th, when our battle with spring fever is raging as we face those last two weeks of school...

Even though school's starting a little late, I'm still not quite organized. Monday I pulled a late-nighter to catch up on housework and prep work, and was kept company by the made-for-TV movie The Ranger, the Cook, and the Hole in the Sky.

And for some reason, this time I "got" it! Our family views this video a few times a year, but I've never before understood the meaning of the phrase "the hole in the sky." Perhaps I just needed to view it by myself in peace and quiet. Perhaps all the planets were finally in alignment. Or perhaps it was God's perfect timing? I mean, He's leading us down a strange new path with regard to school this year, and we'd just studied diffusion in Biology that day...

To me, the elusive "hole in the sky" is now an illustration of our memories diffusing into history. As we tread forward, they waft in our wake like the breeze through my window, spreading out behind us like a fragrance, thinning as they expand backward into the vast open space we call the past, floating gently away... Yet we cling to their essence and it lingers, often teaching, perhaps more valuable in diluted, objective form.

In the movie, a young USFS ranger reflects on his memories of the summer of 1919. Will you indulge me as I take a few moments to reflect on my memories of our short summer of 2009?

As I review photos, I see this has perhaps been our Summer of Welding. I think 900 photos of welding flash may have done my camera in, but through photo journaling I've learned a lot more about my husband's trade, his skill, and the mightiness of God--and got some great shots!

We researched and enjoyed our first garden--raised bed, organic, prolific for its size, and free of deer and rabbits thanks to my husband's "stinky shirt" invention.

Somehow we also managed to indulge in more play time with extended family this summer, swim and ChiRun in a downpour, help our kids begin babysitting and lawn mowing businesses, teach them to dive, and spend four days camping with friends on the North Shore of Lake Superior (boy, was that water cold!).

In August we pickled our own green beans; hiked in to a small lake where, for the first time in years, we gorged on thimble berries and gobbled fresh wild-caught rainbow trout roasted over a campfire; and FINALLY got our boat running!

A birthday arrived again this August as well. Do you remember The Paris Party? This year it was a Swimming-Supper-Spa Slumber Party, and prob'ly the most fun of any party I've hosted to date. We had so much fun planned that it ultimately took two days to accomplish it all. NOW I think I understand better why God tells us we need to set aside a whole week for Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, and other holidays He talks about in Leviticus (and beyond)! He's got cool stuff planned!

Remembering the china from last year, the birthday girl combined information she gleaned from a summer community ed class and Sarah Masters Buckey's novel, Gangsters at the Grand Atlantic, to plan an elaborate 5-course meal, then designed and arranged her own absolutely elegant table setting:

The action included swimming, burying cold guests in warm sand, trying out the lifeguard chairs/duties, and log roll races down the beach into the lake.

The menu included:
  • Course 1 (soup) ~ Apple Compote (a warm fruit soup)
  • Course 2 (fish) ~ GoldFISH crackers and sliced cheese (to some guests' relief, the birthday girl only likes walleye, and we didn't have any), with an abundance of chilled sparkling apple juice for beverage (it was on sale)
  • Course 3 (salad) ~ Fresh garden veggie tray, and fresh fruit platter with fruit dip
  • Course 4 (entree) ~ Frozen cheese pizzas enhanced with each guest's creative design of turkey pepperoni and more cheese
  • Course 5 (dessert) ~ Triple-tiered strawberry angel food cake stuffed with hidden Hershey's Hugs, glued together with Cool Whip...with full aerosol cans of real whipped cream on the side. (Yes, it was indulgent. Yes, it was decadent. And yes, I have some AMAZING blackmail pix archived for "someday!")
The slumber party activities included a freezing cold foot spa (the water heater died for awhile right after everyone got their five-minute post-swimming/pre-supper showers), viewing The Spiderwick Chronicles and Peter Pan, rearranging the birthday girl's bedroom, and munching cold pizza and a new nearly-patented secret snack creation currently called "Peppzoni." We forgot the pillow fight, but oh year.

After an elegant but simpler breakfast of bagels and strawberries, we enjoyed a chocolate facial spa (check out these recipes/suggestions), complete with Lindt white chocolate truffles and, while-U-wait, more foot spa, fish crackers, and juice. As soon as all the gigglers were glowing from head to foot, they wanted to head back to the lake. Goodbye glowing faces! Easy come, easy go, I guess. Ah, c'est la vie...

Beauty. Birthdays. Beans. My summer diffuses through a hole in the sky.

At this time I have a strong sense--stronger than ever before--of being right in God's will and timing for our school year. Perhaps that's all that really matters here today.

Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before you;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.
--Psalm 39:5