The alarm presses into my rest. It's morning. Saturday morning. Only the day won't be restful. I remember, before I grope through a pool of covers for my robe, that the day is to-the-ends full. We have two basketball games. Pinewood derby cars to carve from blank blocks of wood. Our fridge began to wheeze two days ago and as I walk to the kitchen, toward the coffee, I find it, cracked open and plucked apart, parts and pieces splayed on the floor. Lonny had tried to fix it the night before. It involved a late-night trip to the ER and a few stitches. We'll be shopping for a new appliance after the games.
So what was I thinking when I scheduled an 8:30 appointment at the vet for Flash?
I step over something, some inner part of the fridge I'd hope to never see, and notice the clock on the oven.
Time to move.
I dress, gulp coffee, pound down a bowl of cereal, and call for Flash. Soon we're heading out the door. And what I've missed in the frenzy, what I didn't see...was the snow. Weighty flakes. Swirling flakes. Flakes that have covered the van and make the hill in front of my house look slick. It's two blocks to the veterinarian's office, but I decide that it would be faster, easier, to walk.
"C'mon, old boy," I say. Flash comes with a wagging tail and eager heart.
We head over the yard. Across the street. Just Flash and me.
And it's then that I notice the quiet.
Our small town is still asleep. There are no cars. No slow blowers. No scraping snow blades. The snow swirls in a gentle flurry. It decorates bare tree branches and sidewalks and even the road. It's fresh. Clean. Completely untainted. Our footprints in the white are alone.
We walk toward the river. I can see the flow. But even that, too, seems slow. Nearly still. There's a tiny tingle-clack as Flash's name tag hits the clip of his leash. There's the crunch of the snow under my boots. There's the sound of my own breath, because the morning is early and we can hear even that.
But all else is quiet.
And I understand, as we make our way down the hill, that this is all a gift. This early morning appointment. This heavy, falling snow. The still and the quiet that is full and rich and sweet. It's a gift nestled in, presented before, given in front of a crazy busy day. I breathe deep until the cold fills my lungs, and my heart almost sings. We eventually reach the office and I'm half sad when I pull on the heavy door. But the appointment is fast. And soon we've stepped into silence again.
I walk a block and can see my house up on the hill. I stop and Flash pulls a bit. He wants to go on. I push my coat sleeve back to see the round face of my watch. It's still early. There's enough time.
I want to go on, too.
I want to wander in the quiet.
Flash and I follow the river.
And we take the long way home.
Thank you, Lord, for unexpected gifts in unexpected places. I'm grateful...Amen.
I missed posting last Thursday. So I'll be back this Thursday. See you then. Love, Shawnelle