On the last night of summer vacation, the last night before earlier bedtimes, clothes laid out, backpacks at the ready by the kitchen door, lunches waiting to be packed, my little family and I made the most of the time between dinner and bedtime, soaking in the sunshine and breathing in all the goodness that is a summer evening at home. Meanwhile, I was soaking in more than that, taking mental pictures as well as photographs, absorbing the last few hours of this life before both my big kids were off to school.
An unpaved cul-de-sac that is as good a baseball diamond as any is a remarkable place to grow up, where the outfield is the boundless grass of a country road, and the threat is not of passing traffic, but that the ball will get lost in the acres of woods around us or float away on the nearby stream. What we lack in paved surfaces and sidewalks we make up in wildflowers, fallen trees, and the quiet companionship that comes of being nearly alone in the woods. While there is not a streetlight as far as the eye can see, at night the only illumination comes from more stars than I have ever been able to see in my lifetime.
After Little H grew tired of whiffle ball, she and I walked to the bottom of our street to check out whether they had replaced our street sign and see how the waterfall across the street was flowing. Then big brother and big sister helped me push our wagon back up our hill, and we settled back in for the last carefree night of summer.
The older they get, and I suppose the older I grow as well, the more I truly appreciate this life we live, and the many, many benefits of a little house in the woods.