I watch my mom with my kids as they climb up and then fly down the slide, their pants leaving dust trails on the shiny metal curve at Coryell Park, just off the country road. Trucks barrel by, leaving a new layer of dust for the next kids to come visit the playground.
In the middle of nowhere between Auburn and Johnson, Nebraska, this place conjures memories of birthday parties, church hayrack ride bonfires, and time exploring with my sister on the old bridges, life-size play house, and small-yet-beautiful chapel.
Being here as an adult feels serene, as I watch my own children giggle, rocking back and forth on metal animals welded to old bendy spirals with paint worn off. They creak with every buck back and forth, showing age, yet working all the same, in this well-maintained, time-warp space.
As I smell the leaves and hear their laughter, I get this feeling (that I often get) that I need to bottle this. I reach for my phone in my back pocket–but stop myself, wondering how I can ever be present in these fleeting, beautiful moments.
So I do the only thing I can do, and say a prayer of thanks.
And in the gratitude, something shifts and the leaves, the goodness, the children shine in a new way, a deeper way, an alive way, and I sense I am not experiencing it alone.
I’m experiencing it with.
And suddenly there’s no need to bottle, or Snapchat, and re-create the Deep Goodness because I am a part of It, interacting with IT, reminded how I always have been, as much as I would like to pretend otherwise, running in all directions.
So as we finish up this 30-day challenge, I’m thankful for That, and for what’s starting. We never really know what’s next, the things coming tomorrow and the next day. But look around, this moment, right now, this is. Say thanks for the people, for the giggles, for the meal you just had–even if it was a rushed-by train wreck. Because this, this is the life we get, the beauty and the mess.
Tomorrow another truck will come by and fling new dust on the slipper slide. But today we get to leave our mark. And not our mark on the world so much as our mark on each other. We get to etch life in memory, love in the daily.
So get up. Climb up the steps. Forget that phone for a bit; you can dust those pants off later. Make a mess one more time and fly down that slide and dare to enjoy even the bumpiest ride. Enjoy the ride dear ones and say thanks.
Congratulations to Krafty Kash giveaway winner: Tandreasen25 and her mom! I don’t have contact info, so can Tandreasen please FB message me so we can get you set up for delivery? Thanks Kashoan for this generous gift. Thanks Curt for inspiring photography. Thanks Gail, Renee, Danielle & Frances for stories and creativity. And a special thanks to anyone who read along (especially you Dad). It means a lot to me. Love you all.
Today’s Gratitude: First baby calf at the farm. And for these old pictures I found while sifting through old files. May photography help us to see, instead of distracting us from seeing. Cheers to gratitude in 2017. 🙂