We scuttle and shuffle and clamour down Grandma’s Lane, heading to the trails and woods and all that lays beyond. Boys on rip sticks and bike, girls pattering on foot and piggy back; we weave around each other and the cars driving past.
A boarded bridge spans the first journey leg; broken river lies in slabs under the car bridge. Water runs free and cold beneath our path. We must play Pooh-Sticks here on our return.
We set off collecting twig and branch, further down the meandering path. Woods are still, all washed and brown and ready for the endearing smile of spring’s warmth to coax bud out of hibernation. And we, the persuaded, delight in the light of a boggy March day.
Something stirs in the walking soul: it is wonder. We marvel at weed height and barn preservation and frozen ponds nestled in bulrush. We exclaim over clever stick choices. We laugh at memories made years ago. We listen to stories from movie line and real-life-lived. We tramp through stubborn drift of lingering snow. We try forming snowballs, but most dissolve in flight, too wet for bare hands and zig-zagging chase. I’m hit several times anyway, after scurrying in futile escape.
We turn around and come back to the bridge, hands and arms full of stick and bough and crooked twig. We climb the rails to peer over the side. On the count of three we drop our chosen vessels, gravity cascading them into the frigid flow. We dart to the opposite side to see whose stick comes out first. We whoop and holler and giggle and hurry to pick a new stick and try again. Up, drop, dash; up, look, cheer: over and over, till our supplies at last deplete.
Warmed and merry, the dreary colours can’t dampen our delight; they only prove to increase our anticipation of goodnesses to come.
And so we marvel and make merry in reunion; wondering at all God has done for us, remembering His mercy, recalling what we were like, and blessing Him for loving us anyways. The messy pieces of our lives, strewn across confused horizons, cluttered and dull in winter gardens, He will make to bud and flower. And in this quiet of waiting and resting and living normal life, a spring warmth grips our soul tighter and tighter, and embrace consuming, fulfilling, liberating.