Thoughts roam when I enter this yard. There’s not much to it really – an ash dominates, while two young live oaks rival like siblings. Off to the right, a persevering pine and a China berry brought from East Texas have put down roots and determined to survive. Enclosing this little plot of flat land, leans stout-hearted the fence that Papa built.
I identify with every element of this yard, but particularly the fence. To her credit, she has withstood driving winds, drought, and temperature extremes. She has done her best to guard against intrusion, confine our pets, and serve as a backdrop for parties. We’ve hung garlands, banners, and candle filled lanterns from her posts. She’s been climbed, peered through, and studied. Aged to perfection, her gate no longer swings, yet she still kicks up her heels in celebration and her pickets ripple like a glissando under pianist fingers. I hear her sing of her maker on blustery days, when wind whistles through cracks and joy streams in on sun beams through her knot holes. Monument of love, she embraces us as her maker hoped she would, affording protection in his absence, and ever reminding us of his desire to bless and care for us.
I recall that at eighty years old, he traveled day after day on what he termed his “tricycle” from Stephenville. What were his thoughts as he traversed many a mile on highway shoulders to erect a fence for us? Perhaps he contemplated what he intended to pass on to Matt, my son, while they worked side by side under the blazing sun. Maybe he reminisced about doing the same with his own son years ago, causing his eyes to fill with tears. I’m certain his thoughts were of others, as he pressed on hopeful glancing only briefly over his shoulder.
He’s coached me well to look back teachable and with thanksgiving, while moving forward with clearer vision. And so I look about my yard, a mature woman, hair waved and graying like the fence, and I reflect on the occasions celebrated on this patchy grass. I remember the animals that have come and gone. I walk beneath the shade of the trees, and around the fifteen foot China berry I carried not long ago in a Dixie cup of Crockett soil, when the Lord uprooted us both and we came to live here. I look at her with her trunk curved a bit like a mama’s hip, and gaze at her great arms sturdy and prepared to hold my climbing grandchildren. GRANDCHILDREN, two in one year!! One season follows another and I grow old, fade, and lean – lean harder on the Lord.
I run my fingers along the little clothesline that held towels and bonnets for children attending Jaxon’s first birthday. Ants run busy along the tightly stretched cord, life marches on! There at my feet between the gnarled fingers of the trees is a little paper umbrella cast off one of his cupcakes. All the hours that went into commemorating his first year of life, poof, and they are gone and a new day steps on stage briefly to dance. I remember fondly this summer in terms of parties and vacations – Nelson’s adoption carnival, Jaxon’s under the sea birthday, Lori’s woodland party, and our overseas trip to Spain and Morocco!!
Reverently the sun drops to her knees and disappears below the tree line, leaving behind her glory. My heart ignites in gratitude. I notice a few tallow leaves, equally moved, suspended like crimson tears on the limb above me.
“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all is the privilege of meditating in His Temple, living in His presence every day of my life, delighting in His incomparable perfections and glory. There I’ll be when troubles come. He will hide me. He will set me on a high rock out of reach of all my enemies. Then I will bring Him sacrifices and sing His praises with much joy.” I’m standing in His courts, “the yard” of His house, meditating, fenced in secure, eyes transfixed on the beauty of the Lord! Thank YOU for a summer of wonderful memories, LORD!!!
Gazing Upon His Beauty,