Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blue Skies, Smilin' at Me

The air hung heavy between those draped on sofa, chair, or sturdy wall. Like Fitzgerald's heatwave in The Great Gatsby or Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the heat oppressed to the point of becoming the lead in a drama unfolding with every beaded brow. "I'm bored," moaned Rachel, while Lydia paced from window to window like a confined cat. "Turn on the air," I gasped, "I am suffocating." Days on end we sat trapped by the "fine particles" labeled villainous by the Air Quality Board. The Day of Rest fast approached Rest-less. To top it off, Elizabeth's fiance, David, arrived Saturday from Orange County for a summertime respite among the trees and fresh-air fun of the Sierras. On his first visit, last December, a blizzard blew in that tore shingles off the roof, downed the electricity, and trapped us in a board-game twilight zone . (We resist the temptation to identify patterns of natural disasters associated with David's visits.)

"Look!" called Gary excitedly, "Blue sky! I see blue sky." Languidly I shifted my form to catch a glimpse of something less gray, but certainly not blue peeking above the trees (which I could actually identify as trees now). "Gray with a hint of something," I responded, "But not blue." *sigh* Back to more measured conversations about books, history, politics, and other topics serving to confirm that we retained operating gray cells despite the looming grey cloak around our world.

A spirited bird shot past the window and as my eyes followed its route to the fountain I caught a glimpse of periwinkle breaking the gray monotony. We then proceeded to watch and label the deepening hues of blue like a game. We laughed to see french blue turn to cornflower and on down the line to "really blue," even dreaming of lapis lazuli and cerulean studded with diamond-like stars. Oh how we have missed the stars! As the blue deepened, smiles spread, fingers tapped, and life returned to once benumbed limbs.
"Can we eat outdoors?" I burst, "I so miss it!"

"I'll check and let you know," and off Gary went on a reconnaissance mission.

We waited. We smiled. He returned.

"Blue sky and visibility improved; no smoke smell. Let's do it!"

We jumped to action: boiling pasta, seasoning sauces, sauteing spinach, brewing iced tea. Not wishing to heat the oven, I opted to break up delicious dark chocolate and mound it temptingly into bowls for that sweet final note to the meal. Everyone pitched in and carried the feast out into the open brightness of the coming eve. Like mole people, we squinted and shaded our eyes. Like newly-freed inmates we lost words in the face of such an expansive view.

We thanked the Lord for the meal (and I secretly added a pleased note that my sanity had been spared ... though it looked dicey there for a while) and launched into the wholehearted joy of eating en plein air once again. I overheard Elizabeth tell David, "This is our summertime dining room."
Ah yes, a return to the familiar becomes such a blessing when we lose its grasp for a time.

After dinner we lingered, savored the chocolate and music, and dreamed about seeing stars again. "Dad, wanna swim?" queried Matthew. "Did you hear that?" I burst out, "That's the first time he's ever said that!" (Life with autism causes one to celebrate the simplest steps as miraculous.) Blue skies truly are smilin' at me!

Later at the pool we frolicked, watched eagerly for the Big Dipper, and squealed with delight as the bats swooped and swallowed the bugs dancing in the light. Even a snake in the pool couldn't dull the playful mood. Thinking it was a worm, David picked it up and gave it a fling. The sudden look of puzzlement caused us to pause. "I think that was a snake," said the city boy apprehensively. Yep, sure enough. The stunned reptile came slithering back our way, but a few splashes of water got him moving along. (Now, how many of you just changed your mind about seeking an invite to come swim? It was quite tiny and totally harmless unless you're a bug -- trust me.)

And so we sat out under the twinkling stars, roasting marshmallows, and praising the Lord for blue skies that smiled on us (along with a quick prayer that they continue smiling on us tomorrow). : )


Deb said...

Oh Debbie - How I love reading your blog every day. Christy and I loved the carriage under the rose bush and wished we could have found one like that for Mikayla's Princess Birthday Party in June. Pls do tell where we might find one:-)) Reading about what Matthew said about going swimmming brings back warm memories of him. Good Job Matthew!!!

Only you could design such an incredible sight at first try - Keep it up!

Love, Deb

Jo said...

I'll tell you what; the words you use are so beautiful. You have a very refreshing respite for me to steal away to... thank you for all the times you've come to my own little place and for the comment you left several days ago.
I know you to be a true writer because you know just how to encourage another; I love your heart, dear friend! (and the wistful music you have here!)
Here's praying you find many more beautiful, quiet, still days to reflect and write and enchant.

Karen Deborah said...

alrighty then, all this purty talk needs a bit of southern drawl interspersed to shake it up. Ya'll had a FIRE to roast marshmellows? That kinda serprized me. The snake? Good for you, poor thing was probably running form the flames to cool off. Rachel didn't catch it and name it either, another serprise. You are off to a fabolous start woman. AND you probably met KJ over at coffee bean, she was at CC when you visited on your first trip to us. She is good friends with E and me too. Check out the photo and see if it rings some bells. I think the piccha of you spinnin around at the pool would be really cool to add to your "about me.' Whooo hoo to Mathew!!!! Good job!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Hi Girlfriends! Thanks for stopping by. I am so pleased you enjoy sharing time with me. I studied the blog world for a year before I decided to plunge in (and even then I had so many reservations), but I can honestly say it is wonderful! I'm reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. What a blessing!
Deb, I bought that little carriage for about $13 at Home Goods (TJMaxx/Marshalls total home store). Hang on to your wallet, it is a dangerous place for girls like us. So many pretties! Thanks for coming by. I really miss you now. Come visit in person! It's been tooooooo loooooong! : )
Jo, sweet kindred writer. I love having you visit my place. I've lurked around your spot off and on for some time (I popped over from Sarah Clarkson's blog). You were one of my inspirations. I'm so glad we connected. We writer's need to stick together and flood the world with beautiful words of encouragement.
p.s. The music I chose for the blog mirrors the music I have here at home. I believe we need to select the soundtracks for our life. I like beautiful! : )
Dear, Dear Karen,
Fear not, we have a propane fire pit out at the pool. It is totally safe surrounded by an ocean of concrete (which in turn is surrounded by an ocean of lavender, for prettiness and aromatherapy). Silly girl! I've been to blogs of E and KJ, commented even. Yes, I know I met E, and KJ looks familiar, too. funny to say, "How do you do" in church and then get onto the blogs and really get to know someone. : )

Sarah said...

Hello there!
What a lovely experience- it is that, an experience of sound and imagination and color. I wish i could have been there for your magical evening. The dinner and the stars and fun, you have captured it beautifully. I will look forward to coming back.
Welcome to blogdom!