The garden -- at 6 pm.
The weekend? Magic. The children weren't just hers: they were universal, timeless. During the course of an hour, Merrick sang on a skateboard, hunted frogs, built a stick fort and questioned death. They were all limb, mystery and joy. She marveled at their existence -- and the expanse open to them ahead, the large unknown life that is only beginning.
The Matron enjoyed every minute of her children. She applied bandaids, squeezed lemons, combed hair, brokered deals, sliced cheese, washed dishes and set tables without complaint.
Because for some reason (thank you God-Buddha-Oprah-Allah-Universe), the Matron woke to a sun-washed, stunning summer June day, fully - viscerally -- grounded in the reality of a recently experienced late afternoon in December, which looked like this:
That's right after dinner. Night, by 6 pm!
And for some reason, the Matron carried Night with her this weekend. June ends. Childhood passes. Her house is nearly 100 years old. A century ago, another family's stories shaped the same hallways and arches that she walks through today; those people are gone - forever. She will be, too. The children will soon be different people. One day they'll be adults, old, and facing their own demise.
She guesses it's possible to appreciate this differently
knowing this is right around the corner.
Like life. Not that there isn't beauty in Night. It's possible. But the beauty and grace night holds -- old age, death, change, seperation -- is hard-won and self-reflective, quite unlike the abandon of children in the summer time.
She's grateful for today's gift, knowing how quickly it passes.