Friday, September 11, 2009

Labor Day

I am a week behind on things I would like to write. If I don't have early morning time, forget it. But the girls' school work is top priority. We did have a fun holiday weekend. We attempted another bike trail and this time Marissa went with us.

This trail was safer but much more strenuous. We climbed steep hills huffing and puffing and we flew down curvy slopes. I was very proud of the little girls. No one fell and they both kept up.

At one point the path led us into an area very familiar to us in earlier times. Fred and I had taken our big kids to play in this wildlife refuge years ago when they were the age of Arielle and Liana now. We came here often because we lived in a development right next to the park. We hadn't been back here in the woods in a long time and were surprised to see paved bike roadways where before there were just dirt foot paths. Suddenly we were all alone. The trail was so steep I guess most cyclists avoid it. Marissa and I kept pointing and saying, "Remember that?" We found a drop-off through dense vegetation where we once slid down on our bottoms, covering our clothes with mud and our hair with dry leaves. (I can't believe I really did that, or why. Wasn't I worried about poison ivy?) I looked over the edge down into the hole and was amazed at my foolish younger self. What fun we had though! Funny though, Arielle and Liana could never be enticed to do that.

We found the old path where Fred and Marissa used to race each other, Marissa trying hard to beat her old man. And then there was the place we once made a fort in the woods with Jon, Anthony and Marissa. We played some kind of pursuit game there, I remember. There was the grassy field where deer slept at night, and I guess still do, and where we once found our lost cat after he was missing for days. Later on, I got off my bike and looked through the overgrown brush to the apartment building where we used to live. Fred asked, "Going back in time?" Yes...but the present is so much better. It's not good to look too long at the past.

We were all in a thoughtful mood as we rode our bikes back to the car. I noticed people gathering in the pavillion. It looked like it was set up for a wedding reception. The last time we were in that pavillion was in February for the memorial service for our hometown soldier. Today the park is green and lush and warm. It's hard to believe it was once a place of sorrow and tears.

As we approached the parking lot, we heard music. Three people were singing, one playing a guitar. Their voices clear and sure sang, "Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace, streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise..." God's hand was on us this day, the beautiful music a gentle reminder of his constant presence, in times of heartbreak and also on a perfect day like this.

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