The youngest boys and I are in the yard raking. The ground is covered in deep gold. There's a lot to do. Our beautiful maple now is down to bare branches reaching into the November sky.
"I'm tired," Zay says. "Can we take a break and jump?"
We've gathered quite a pile. It's appealing. It calls to the boys. I nod and they drop their rakes and charge like wild. They laugh. They throw leaves and tumble around. Then they bolt from what's left of the pile so they can charge again.
This time Flash follows.
He jumps on in with the kids. They're surprised. We've never had a dog behave like this. The boys become still and Flash flops to his back. His legs are in the air and he presses himself deeper. Gabe decides it would be fun to bury the dog. He scoops armfuls and tosses leaves in the air. Flash flips over and behaves like he's going to pounce. He pokes the boys with his nose. It's an invitation to play. It doesn't take long for the leaf pile to hold a tumble of arms and legs. Paws and elbows and smiles and the long, thin face of a greyhound.
They roll. They wrestle. They they call for me to join in.
I hesitate. It looks untamed. And messy. But I can't resist. And before long, I'm in the mix, laughing like crazy, too.
It feels good to laugh this hard. The dog takes off
from the pile, makes two long laps around the yard, and bounds back in. The boys howl. It's reckless and free and we laugh in the autumn leaves until our sides are sore.
I can't remember when I've laughed like this. There's raking to do and a million things more. There are things hidden in my heart that hold worry and concern. But for now, all that is quiet. There's only the beauty of the day and God's overwhelming grace and the love in this moment and the sweet, easy joy that's draped over our home.
We fall back in the leaves, exhausted, but giggling still. I'm so grateful for the simplicity of what has happened here.
And our laughter feels like praise.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4 ESV