I try to protect Wednesday afternoons to spend with Grace and Whit. This past week Wednesday was sunny and warm: classic Indian summer. I walked to school to pick them up and we walked home, stopping at the playground on the way. After a stop at home to finish Grace’s homework, we went to one of our favorite places, the tower at the back of a cemetery in our town. We like to climb it in all seasons, survey the world that we live in spread out all around us, admire the changing foliage and quality of the light, feel the wind on our faces. The kids also like to race up the stairs, counting them as they go. The last time we went up there was in May, on a stormy day that became a tornado-warning evening.
As we climbed the stairs to the base of the tower, Grace stopped suddenly. I was ahead of her, following Whit.
“Mummy! Look!” She pointed at something in between two of the stone steps.
“What?” I admit I was a little impatient. Whit was running ahead of us.
As he so often does, Wordworth ran through my head:
With with an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.
At the top of the tower we admired the deep green of the leaves on the trees all around. Grace and Whit found the playing fields of their school’s upper school, and watched tiny figures running up and down. The breeze was cool but the sun was still warm. The green was spotted in a few places with autumn’s red and orange, and Grace asked if we could come back up someday soon when all the leaves had turned. Of course. Of course.
After we descended the tower we visited the fairy stream. That my children remain enchanted by the small, still place makes me happier than I can describe. As we left it, Grace cartwheeled ahead and Whit slipped his hand into mine. “Do you think there are really fairies, Mummy?”
“Yes,” I said firmly. “Yes, I do. Do you?”
“Yes, yes. I was just wondering where they went when we arrived. Do you think they hid under the rocks or flew away?”
Pondering this, we walked around a bit in amiable silence. I told Grace and Whit about my very favorite headstone, though I couldn’t actually find it. “It’s very simple,” I said. “I just love the words. It says: look at the light of this hour.”
The kids walked on, quiet, for a few steps. Grace then turned to look at me. “You mean, well, that means, to really pay attention, right?” I nodded at her. “So, like the way you take pictures of the sky all the time?” I smiled and nodded again. She turned back to her walking, thinking. A moment later, “I was doing that when I noticed the heart, right, Mummy?”
I hugged her and said, “Yes, Grace. Yes, you were.”
Look at the light of this hour. It is golden, and it contains the life of things.