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Today was a Good Day

July 26, 2006

Today was a good day. The hot afternoon sun struck my head like a hammer, and the inside of the car was stifling as I was leaving work. This day was unusual in that my 10 year old daughter was travelling home with me and I can’t believe how much she has grown and how quickly. We chatted as I prised from her a share of the crisps she was nibbling. She offered tidbits with a gentle reluctance.

Later, as we neared home she asked me to show her how to change the gears. I placed my hand on top of hers, gripping the stick and carefully moved it through the gears. As she became more confident, I called the numbers and she moved smartly as together we worked in rhythm. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly she had worked it out and offered her my praise. Normally too cool to accept I saw her look straight ahead, now changing gear without looking while a slight smile played at the edges of her mouth.

Later still, having welcomed my son home from a sleepover, having prepared and completed dinner we played football in the garden, me on my knees in goal, he shooting sometimes close in, sometimes far away. I watched his thin, boyish chest open to the ball, saw it fall to his feet while he struck it towards the goal. I saw too how excited he was to see the ball billow the net as I sprawled despairingly and how his confidence grew as I offered commentary on the skills he displayed.

Later again, I extracted him from the garden with his hair plastered to his head from the exertion of his imaginary world cup win, to get ready for bed, and we chatted about how his ball skills were improving, he smiled shyly but his eyes revealed his pleasure.

Now the sun has relented, the last tinges of red are being erased by the coming night and I’m sitting in the garden, under one of our tired apple trees. I’m reading Annie Dillard’s novel The Living. And I am brought to a halt again, not by the poetry of my child’s smile but the beauty of her prose,

“Down on the sand and beach rye, the stiff lambs jumped as if the ground itself were tossing them or flicking them. There on the sand spit the women, gladdened from rowing, met the sheep penning with a picnic. The sky was calm and streaked high overhead, and the beach was dry and airy, unfamiliar. The sea smelled, and the wild rose that grew in the rye. They all drank hot tea under the circling terns that peered into the braided standing wave at the tip of the spit”

I am thankful to God for the beauty of this day. For children who jump and soar as if the energy of the earth itself were tossing them. And for the gorgeousness of words which move and inspire.

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From → Reflection

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