Watching through the kitchen window

Unseasonably warm air, invisible wind blowing the last of the yellow and brown leaves from the branches they barely try to cling to. I look out the kitchen window at my kids and some of our neighbor kids swinging and yelling, t-shirts and rain boots. You’d think we lived a few hundred miles south of here.

The kitchen table, my watch point, is covered with Obama reading materials as our new reality seeps into my consciousness. Every time I look at the children playing so innocently outside, I tear up, sigh with relief, the kind you feel when someone pulls through, survives, the kind you can feel when you finally know they’re not going to die. How close we came. Not ignorant of what faces us, but rather feeling safe, prepared, ready to roll our sleeves up together and get to work.

This happens sometimes, this peaceful feeling, this poignant wave. Maybe it’s the changing seasons or the barefoot boy pulling a red wagon full of leaves around our backyard (which adjoins his backyard, no fences here) and his brother also barefoot riding his two-wheeler in circles around the swings.

It happens sometimes when sweet music is playing and I’ve swept the floors and nobody’s yelling and I have a moment alone, a moment just long enough to take a full breath in and out as the warm wind picks up.

We have been stirred, called, inspired. We have been moved, transformed, having prepared for this our whole lives. This is not the face of apathy or cynicism.

And as I write, I long to express something stirring in me, something almost melancholy, something that reaches back and reaches out and wants to be held, connected.

I want to cry, to capture the poignancy. I look up and realize the children have run out of my sightline, but I’m not worried – we have a little village here, watching and taking care, borrowing eggs and milk for coffee and raking up the last of what was summer once and will dissolve now, only to reappear next year in something faith tells us we can count on.

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