Sniff The Air
The sun is out and Frank sits on our deck for hours. When a breeze comes, he closes his eyes and takes it in, the bliss of the moment. Then he flops on his side and dozes in the afternoon sunlight. Dogs seem to understand some things better than we do. They eat, sleep, and live in the exact moment they are in with gusto. They look around and sniff the air.
Growing up, when I would take walks with my dad, I’d leave my shoes at home so I could feel the ground under my feet. We would stop to smell everything. My dad would grab a pine needle from a tree, break it in half, and put it under my nose and we would inhale deeply and sigh, like you do after a good bite of food. When we passed blackberry bushes, he would reach back into a thicket to grab the juiciest berries. He brought forth fistfulls of perfect fruit, hands dripping mostly from juice but also from blood. We laughed, walked, and munched on the sweetness of life.
One day, I remember him getting home from work and yelling, “Rachel! Rachel! Come with me. Quick!” We hopped in the car and he drove through town until we reached a cherry tree, loaded with orange-pink berries. Half the tree was on someone’s property, but the other half had grown past their fence onto a public road. It was dusk. We jumped out like bandits and grabbed as many as we could hold. The whole way home, we laughed and ate, spitting cherry pits out the window.
There is always something to do be done. Something to write, to wash, someone to call; somewhere to be. And I don’t want to forget. I want to smell the pine needles and watch Frank feel the wind ruffle his fur. I want to teach my children to study leaves and soak up sunlight. There are tan mushrooms growing on the side of a tree in my yard that look like ladder steps, leading to the very top. There is a cat crawling around in the woodpile near the garage. There is a squirrel sniffing damp leaves and there are sprouts of green popping up everywhere. This house has been here for over one hundred years. I wonder what has been planted, what will bloom, and what I will see. I write this to the sound of a robin chirping, a dog barking, and the neighbor kids, jumping on their giant trampoline. Selah.
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