I miss the sweaty warm feeling in the crook of your arm when you finally set down to sleep a crying toddler. The toddler that cried, as you held him, for seemingly hours. The child that stopped and melded into your cramped arm like liquid - hot and sweet smelling. Sniffles turned into snores.
I miss the quiet growl/snore of our visiting dog and how when she sleeps and makes this sound: we all look up from our reading, or TV, or phone screen. Together for a minute. You look toward the window and possible danger, head cocked. I look toward you, and the dog continues to sleep.
I miss seeing the climatis in Nashville blooming because the damn plant crawls and climbs away from me and shows off over the fence for our neighbors. A busy family, whose cars fly up and down the driveway all day long, faces in their window looking ahead to the road.
I miss seeing cows all the time and smelling them before we saw them and hearing my mom say things like;
“The cows are laying down, must be snow coming.”
Or when we saw the white underside of leaves blowing upward in the trees by the cows;
“You can see the bottom of the leaves, must be rain coming.”
Something was always coming. And I miss that too.
I miss the hugging I see in this photo on my desk - my three sons stacked up like a totem pole. Rory, so tiny, he hugs Dillon’s thighs, Dillon - in the middle - hugging Shane’s waist. Shane a head taller, arms wrapped around Dillon tight as ribbon on a gift.
Wendell Berry wrote in a poem, “I lack the peace of simple things.”
Maybe I do too and so I miss it. Peace. Among this carnival of a day.
But really, we’ve had so many quiet days lately. Will we look back at 2020/2021 and miss these days too?
Am I squandering peace?
I should be like Emily Dickinson and stare at a rose for an afternoon. But, who does that?
Once, we were fly fishing and wading upstream against a very strong current. It tugged at my thighs, made my feet wag instead of step. I was looking down, watching where I could trust my foot to land, when I smelled cows.
Shane had already stopped ahead of me. Five or six heifers and some older cows with their calves were at different spots of crossing the river ahead of us. They stared straight ahead to the other bank and a trampled down fence.
One baby calf was midstream and turned to look at Shane and I - making her mom unhappy I assumed. The mother’s moo a sad sound, like she knew she already lost that reckless calf showing off for us.
It was a gorgeous day. The water was like ice melt and the sun hot on my shoulders and arms. One arm crooked at the elbow, holding my rod up and dry. The fly Shane had tied was swinging back and forth. The leaves were blowing up.
It took a long time for those cows to cross. And we stood still, fighting the water that tried to push us back, staring like Emily Dickinson.
When the last heifer meandered over the fallen fence, I said,
Shane - look at the leaves. Let’s get going. Looks like rain.
I miss hugging, like the boys here - tight as ribbon on a package.