I missed them tonight.
I left work early this evening and picked the boys up from school where they waited with Lisa for the end of Mary's cross country practice. I took the boys with me to get some dinner, leaving the wifemate to wait it out.
We got some fast food and made it home with enough light left for a hearty football game with the neighbor boys. I assumed my usual position of "all time quarterback." A bad knee, sore back and twenty-six years the elder of my nearest competitor had surely earned me that. We finally went inside the house after a few spectacular (and not so spectacular) moments on the field.
The clock had ticked many times, but the girls were still absent. Luke and Thomas finished up some homework and dispersed throughout the house. But, something called me again to the backyard on this late October evening, and so, I went. Perhaps it was the waning warmth of days that will quickly turn to something altogether different. Or maybe it was a heart that beat for moments long since passed away.
Either way, I started out.
I dabbled a little in the residue of a garden beyond its prime. I kicked clods of dirt and stems that once held brilliant blooms and loosed them from their withering roots below. I looked for signs of tomatoes, lately clinging to life.
I saw none.
But, I felt another beckoning back there in the stillness of the sun's softening brilliance. As I noticed the swing set, I suddenly recalled late fall evenings some ten years earlier. I thought back to my daughter's more youthful years. I remembered climbing up on top of the landing just above her slide with a warm blanket and wrapping ourselves up together. She would sit atop my folded legs and lean her back against my chest. Sometimes her mom would make hot chocolate, and we would sit quietly looking to the heavens for signs of shooting stars. Mostly we saw airplanes in the night.
They fascinated her. And my little girl, well, she fascinated me.
Something was calling me again to that ledge, and so I climbed the weathered stairs. Ten years of the elements had taken its toll on the splintering wood. My legs didn't bend as gracefully either.
I wondered if He would be pleased with what he witnessed.
And then, the first plane entered into the background-its red and white lights blinking rhythmically against the black. I thought of her. I thought of our nights together when she was a little girl and the history on that ledge.