November 5th, 2008
We are up and we are at it. Sun rising through cool clear skies. Soft light on leaves so that our yard is bursting with trees of gold. It is a new day. With autumn to breathe. Summer to remember. Winter on its way. And spring, always there. Over the dark horizon. With new life, just below the surface, fighting to survive.
And that's what keeps us ticking. Tired feet over the edge of the bed. And one in front of the other, as we do our part to take care. Of this great gift we've been given. Of all that surrounds.
There is much in this waking. This time of change. But what it comes down to are the basics. Needs that must be met before we can ever rest. Find that small space of peace at the end of the longest day. When we can exhale. Relax. Let limbs of worry fall away. And simply be. Part of this big thing. Ashes and dust. Heart and hope. Beginnings and endings. Round and round. Over and over again.
Little Man upstairs. Still enjoying the warmth of covers.
S.B. in her long coat. Wrapped up beautifully, a present for our daily discovery. On her way to work. To teach and inform. Guide and inspire.
And these words. Here for the taking, or for the leaving. But here all that same.
It will be a fine day.
But there is not much new to report from the Garden City. Just more of the same. Rising as best we can. Reaching. Keeping at the keepin' on. A mantra. A way of life. A personal code. One based on the maintenance of a solid foundation. One based on learning and growth—strengthening the core.
A man. A woman. A child. Days of work. Days of play. All of us aimed at perfecting the imperfections of family life that make the commitment and journey worthwhile.
"He's a good boy," the old woman said. She was cute with her thin face. Bright eyes. Poofy white hair. Providing voter information and handing out stickers.
She plucked a sticker off a roll and put it on Little Man's hand.
"Oh, nice!" he said.
"What a good boy," she said, as she looked at him.
"So far, so good," I said, as I filled in blanks. Name, address, date of birth.
"No, he's a good one," she said. "He'll always be good. You'll see."
"Well, thank you!" said S.B.. "That's very nice of you to say."
The old lady patted Little Man on the arm. Smiled. And it looked like she wanted to hug him.
It's okay. Go ahead and hug him.
That's what I wanted to say. Because I could see her wanting it. Julian waiting. And I knew what it was like to want to just hug a kid sometimes. Out of the blue. For no reason at all. But it did not come. The moment passed. It was election day after all. Serious business. Right and left. Red and blue. And the line needed to keep moving.
"Bye!" Little man cheered to her, as we walked into official voting room. A middle school library with cardboard dividers on tables to serve as voting booths.
"Bye, bye, honey," she said.
The three of us settled. Little Man playing with his yo-yo. Me and S.B. with our ballots and pens. And as soon as it started, it was over. We had inked the dots. Made our decisions. And then we were on our way to the store. To find coats for winter. We hunted until we found the best deals. Parted with the hard earned cash. Then made our way to the Red Robin. A place none of us had ever been. We ate burgers and fries. Drank water. Talked about our day. S.B. riding high from a teacher's conference at Cobo Hall. Inspired by the key note speaker. Looking forward to the next day. Back at school. To implement new ideas, a fresh approach. And me, giddy for having finished my first story in months. The words started, middled with, and ended. Now awaiting the final draft. And Little Man amazed at airplanes going round and round and round near the ceiling.
"Airplane fly! Airplane fly! Airplane fly!" he said again and again.
"Yes, airplanes," we said.
And we ended our meal. Paid the bill. Got into the truck to get back home. The place we leave time and time again, but are always so happy to come back to. Little Man played until it was time for bed. S.B. showered and then we relaxed on the couch. Watched a movie. Talked. Listened. Until the credits rolled, we said our good-nights and S.B. went off to bed.
"Wake me when you come to bed," she said. "Let me know what happened."
"I will," I said.
We hugged. I stretched out on the couch. Moved from channel to channel watching history unfold. Feeling good. Not because there was more of one color than another. But because the age old process was working. People lined up. Volunteering. Participating. Doing their best. Getting involved. And it made me remember how happy I am to be part of this. Our little country, our little state, our little city, our little neighborhood, our little family. That is together. Fighting the good fight. Working for good. So that there are days like this for everyone.
All of us. Up and at it. Rising like the sun through cool clear skies. Soft light on leaves so that the morning is bursting with trees of gold. Another new day. With autumn to breathe. Summer to remember. Winter on its way. But spring, always here. Over the dark horizon. With new life, just below the surface, fighting to survive.
And that's what keeps us ticking. Tired feet into bed. Under the covers. To rest and be strong. Do our part to take care. Of this great gift. Of all that surrounds.
I shook S.B. lightly. She raised her curly head. I kissed her warm cheek.
"Who won?" she asked.
And no matter the results, I couldn't help thinking WE did.
(copyright © 2008 by K.J. Stevens)