Showing posts with label 8-Minute Memoir. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 8-Minute Memoir. Show all posts


It’s an unseasonably warm day. The sun is diffusing softly through the curtains, and the house is almost quiet. My tiniest child is sleeping upstairs, and I hear muffled shouts as I carry my book into the sitting room. I brush the gauzy curtain aside and see my gaggle of children, coats unbuttoned and flapping as they race on their bikes. 

A sniffly noise emits from our hound dog, snoozing in the corner, his head resting between his two front paws and eyes closed. I sit and read a while, listening to nothing but the sounds that always fill a “quiet” house. The heater clicking on. A sink dripping somewhere.  A slight breeze creaking the screen door. A small cry from my baby upstairs, before she settles and this noisy silence fills the air again. A conversation outside, in young voices I can’t decipher. A page of my book turning.

I look out the window and I can see the rain blowing up over the mountains, and the wind is picking up. My kid-gang tumbles through the door with bright eyes and red, runny noses. My middle boy asks for a snack with big eyes and a sniff. They tell me it’s getting cold, and they are inside now, and the house is quiet again, but not silent. A cartoon plays softly from the next room, and they occasionally converse with their fictional screen-friends or burst out into laughter.

Sometimes I want peace and quiet as a mom, and I got a little bit of the peace part this afternoon. The quiet part is ever debatable. A house with five kids is never actually silent. 

But then, even when the house is so full of noise that I’m overwhelmed, I know in my heart that silence isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. How very grateful I am to be here, in a house that’s never truly quiet, where shouts of joy, and small sorrows, squabbles and giggles - all this life spills out and vibrates the air molecules straight into my ears almost every moment of the day.

Hummingbird Thoughts

If I had to pick one sound the represents summer to me, it would be hummingbirds.

Every year, growing up in the mountains, my dad would put out a hummingbird feeder.  People in the city probably do this too, but in the mountains, houses are spread out enough that there are less feeders, and therefore more hummingbird per feeder.  We used to get swarms, literal swarms, of hummingbirds around our single feeder.  We'd watch them from our kitchen window, marvel at how you couldn't even see their wings, get ready to boil more sugar water when the feeder started to get low.

Last year I put out a hummingbird feeder for the first time in my adult life.  I honestly don't know what took me so long, because like my dad, I love those little hummingbirds.  I bought the feeder, filled it with liquid sugar, and hung it in my kitchen window, just like when I was growing up.  I hung it a little late in the season, so it took the birds a while to find it.  We ended up with a little lone hummingbird that year.

This year Derek has taken over the hummingbird feeding duties, and he reminds me so much of my dad.  The way he keeps an eye on the feeder, counts how many birds we have, and feels protective of them when something goes wrong.

What could go wrong in hummingbird land, you may ask?  A Rufous, that's what.

Rufous hummingbirds are little orange/red birds that take over your feeder and chase all the other hummingbirds away.  They are mean, they are pests, and unlike our usual Ruby-throat hummingbirds, we have no fondness for them at all.

I came home from the gym the other day and walked around the house.  I couldn't find Derek.  I checked outside, and there he was, standing outside with the hose, getting ready to scare that bully hummingbird away with some water.

It wasn't a bad idea (I actually think it was rather brilliant), but I had to laugh, because in that moment I felt like we had become my parents (when it comes to hummingbirds anyway).

The kids are joining in too.  Wyatt is especially fond of birds, and has been since he was 18 months old (I kid you not).  I used to carry him through the zoo, and he wasn't interested in the bears or the giraffes or the zebras, but every time he saw a hawk or flamingo he would point and cry out "Bird!".  He still examines bird books, draws birds, and wants to know everything he can about birds.  I love that he loves birds!  I am hoping as the kids grow older and less likely to cry, we can become a real birding family.

The other day I walked outside to find the boys running around with their butterfly nets.  "We are going to help daddy and catch that mean orange bird!"  They've been chasing it around with their nets ever since.  If I actually thought they'd catch it, I'd be worried, but as it is I just find it completely adorable.

I am sitting on the porch, typing this, and there are multiple hummingbird sounds, swirling from every corner of our one acre of earth.  Wyatt grabs my phone to ask Siri how to catch a hummingbird.

This is summertime in the mountains.

8 Minute Memoir: Spring

(Quick note - Post inspired by Amanda's beautiful 12-Minute memoir yesterday.  I forgot how much I like doing these, and it's so much easier to fit in before the kids wake up.  I'm getting my prompts here.  Thanks Amanda! Also, picture is from somewhere else where they actually have those magical flowering trees.)

6:46 AM

When I think of spring I think of one thing: mud.

I've lived in the mountains my whole life, and in the mountains spring is an endless cycle of snow which turns to mud, which is covered by more snow.  Even the springs that break form (like this one) are brown and grey in the mountains, with very little color.  We wait and wait, until suddenly, all in a flurry at the end of May, it goes from spring to summer in one week.

When I was a child I never understood why people liked spring.  When I became a young adult I started to realize that other places had flowers, flowering trees even.  And well, if you have a spring like that, it makes sense why you would like it.  But in my mountain world, spring is the ugliest season.

Mountain springs haven't changed that much since I was a kid, but while I used to hate the season, I don't anymore.  It's still brown and yucky, but I notice the green grass poking through the ground, hidden behind the yellowed leftovers from last year.  As my kids' feet pound the floor above me way too early in the morning, I realize I also hear birds singing an endless song outside the window.  I walk over to let our big hound mix outside, because he won't leave me alone until I do, and I hear squirrels chattering and I breathe in the cold, wet smell of melting snow.

Spring will always smell like that to me.  Not like flowers, or green grass.  Like mud and melting snow.  

There is life out there, new life stretching up, peeking around the corner, sitting in the tree branches.  I never noticed that as a kid, but I do now.  Now that I've felt new life in my womb, held it in my arms, and had a few more Resurrection Days under my belt, spring holds a bit more significance.  

So even these muddy, ugly springs are beautiful after all.  I look out my window and can see the echoes of God's words in Genesis - even here, in the mud.  

"It is good."

6:54 AM 
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