iPhone alarm Church bells chimed at 8:00 am. I slept well, hallelujah. I couldn't recall last night's dreams, but I remembered hearing a hymn in my dream a few nights ago. Was it a hymn I know? One that Johnny will write? One that we'll write together? I don't remember those details, either, but it sure was purty.
I rolled over and noticed morning light through the bathroom window, a few rays peeking through the bamboo shade. I always take note of early light, but this morning it seemed different. More golden. Warmer. A hint of orange.
I rolled the other way to hug Johnny. Harley hopped up on the dresser, meowed, and stared - his subtle way of alerting us to the fact that we were still lying there, not feeding him.
I walked slowly to the kitchen by way of the dining room, to open the window blinds. Yep, something was definitely up outside. I swallowed a handful of medicine and vitamins. I opened window blinds covering the three big windows in the kitchen. My sleepy eyes rested on a wall and I thought, What is this paint color called again? It might be my favorite hue in the whole world."
I found myself humming/singing Derek Webb's song, "Heaven." * Before the morning got away from me, I walked back to our bedroom, sat in the rocking chair, and prayed Psalm 71. The cats both perched on the window sill and took in the view. They, too, sensed a change in our little corner of suburbia.
[these photos brought to you by my iPhone . . . ]
As I switched on the coffee grinder, Johnny stepped outside to unlock his drum studio. He peeked his head back in and said, "You gotta come out here." Seeing as I was intensely focused on my coffee-making ritual, I said, "Right now?" He nodded up and down.
My bare feet felt dirt on the cool concrete. And then I grinned - Autumn was in the air! Houston is sure to tease us now and again this month, but for today, I even smelled my favorite season. I immediately started a mental to-do list:
-Buy orange mini pumpkins. Place in the same wooden bowl on the breakfast nook table again? Dining room table?
-Buy cheap, large orange pumpkins, and splurge on at least one white pumpkin, and one blue. Arrange in a cluster on one side of the front porch this year.
-Or visit a pumpkin patch?
-Create a pumpkin bread recipe with almond flour.
-Which Autumn candle should I buy this year? **
Johnny and I recognized our challenges for the day - a few symptoms for me; the kitchen sink for Johnny. The sink smelled awful and was obviously clogged with something that Drano couldn't cure (too much bacon grease lately?). I was tempted to worry and delve into fear of eternal ill health, and Johnny considered diving headlong into frustration, but we strived for optimism and hope - to be grateful, peaceful, and faithful.
J. made me a beautiful omelette with orange bell peppers and bacon (ahem). I sipped coffee and became entranced with a tweet from Gideon Strauss:
"Ridderbos: 'Love is the life of the re-creation, the eschatological mode of existence.'"
Ah, how I love poetic theology - isn't there a C.S. Lewis essay on the topic? I was further inspired by Shari's photo of her picnic on a floating dock: goat cheese with herbs, homemade bread, a Chanterais melon, an avocado, honey, homemade cider, and the first few orange Autumn leaves in her corner of Vermont. Johnny and I really ought to picnic. I'd take a thermos of tea and everything; he'd take a flask of Irish whiskey, I guarantee it. Oh, and by the way, until I can eat maple syrup again, this photo by Shari just might suffice. Yum-my.
We normally walk around the 'hood in the evenings, but the weather was just too pretty to wait. I quickly tied up my sneakers and grabbed my sunglasses. We circled the retention pond which is about a mile, then 'round two streets before our own. At times, huge dragonflies swam through the air, leading the way. At other times, Exodus-like clouds of gnats hovered over the sidewalks, making us take to the street. I happily "glistened," (as my Mom says) ridding my body of toxins. An Autumn breeze cooled us off. Johnny found a bluebird feather and I oohed and ahhed over the color. "I hope he didn't lose it in a fight," I said. "Birds shed feathers, of course," Johnny replied, "but bluebirds are mean ole birds - he might've lost it in a fight after all."
[wasn't it kind of Johnny to hold the feather for me? He LOVES doing that kind of thing.]
A Monarch flitted by and I said, "Orange butterflies always remind me of grace." "Why the orange ones?" asked Johnny. I shrugged. All I know is that their bright wings made me think, grace the first time I truly noticed one as I took out the trash from mine and Holly's apartment several years ago.
As we neared our front door, we discussed the need for rocking chairs on the front porch, a wooden swing beneath one of the front yard pine trees, and patio furniture out back. I said, "I will learn to garden!" Back inside, Drano still wasn't helping matters, so Johnny sighed and called a plumber.
That kind man just left our house and the bill wasn't too bad, thank God. So here I sit drinking orange Zevia, needing to go eat at least a snack of hummus and Greek flax crackers (and a cookie) or something. We'll whip up chipotle lime salmon after we babysit three (out of four) of our friends' cute kiddos this evening.
A day of grace indeed.
[Elliot, Issy, and Ian at our house]
* - That song is from Webb's album, Stockholm Syndrome, which released yesterday. Great record.
** - Candle suggestions?