The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

19 September 2010

Of days gone by

Where does the time go? How is it possible that summer is over already? (It doesn’t matter what the calendar says: school is in session, therefore summer is over.)
I recently had two weeks on my own at a beautiful house near Lake Ontario. This came after two weeks alone here in Sohoe while the Family of Nuts were on holiday elsewhere. The Beautiful House is a place of rest and tranquility... when the wind isn’t blowing it down, and if you can ignore the vuvuzela-like insistence of the chirping crickets.

The crickets were so loud, and so relentless in their song that I bought foam earplugs so I could sleep at night. It became part of my morning entertainment to hunt through the bed to find them; they were never in my ears, but would be in my hair, or under the pillow, or in the sheets somewhere around my knees. How does that happen?

The bed was rather hard, so after tossing and turning the first few nights, I decided to get clever and pad it with a few spare blankets under the fitted sheet. One was a downy comforter and the other was an itchy wool blanket. Guess which one I put on top? That’s right: the scratchy wool job. I figured that once I put the sheet over top, it wouldn’t matter much, but I was wrong about that. Did I do anything about it? Nope. I figured it was a reinterpretation of the hair shirt, and offered my sufferings for you, dear Reader. You’re welcome.

I sat by the water one afternoon, admiring a flotilla of geese body surfing the waves. There were dragonflies as big as helicopters filling the air, and I soon learned how it was they got so big – they were well fed with steady supplies of mosquitoes. I was able to ignore the pesky nibblers for a while in my blessed-out state of admiring God’s glory in the water and trees and sky all around me, but eventually not even the most beautiful of all sceneries could help me pretend I wasn’t in fact being drained dry, and I had to escape to the car and drive away fast as I might with what remained of my life’s blood.

Have you ever noticed that you can see the shape of the lake-bed by watching the waves? They run in long, smooth lines where it is flat, and shimmer in dimpled ripples over the smaller, rounder rocks.

For all it can be a fierce and mighty thing, wind has no sound, on its own. It needs the trees and water to give it voice. Or a building or corn field. Or a hole in the glass of the window it broke as it grabbed the frame, threw away the rock used to prop the window open, and slam it to, so hard the pane cracked from top to bottom and a piece the shape of Florida fell to the ground. Then, the wind can definitely be heard.

One particularly fine evening, when the sun promised a fine spectacle as it set, I took myself to the sandy beaches to watch the show. There were people scattered all along the shore, on either side of the waterline. We all faced the sun, giving it our full attention as it gently slipped below the horizon. It’s nearly impossible to witness such an event, and not feel healed at least a little of the hurts of the day; it is a very tranquil thing, though it testifies to the grandeur of creation. There, before our very eyes, we witness the travels of our earth through space, the cooperation between planet and sun, the surety of the laws of nature that keep us all in balance.

On a lighter note, while I was at home, back in Sohoe before going to the Beautiful House, my friend at The Tree sent me a birthday card. I was so excited to get it, that I couldn’t wait to open it, and stood right in the middle of the street to rip open the envelope. The front of the card had the usual lovely birthday card sentiments, and I opened it to see what personal message she had written to me. Right there, in front of all my neighbours, I opened the card to be greeted by the chorus to Mmmbop by Hanson. Do you remember it? I can’t bring myself to include a clip, but youschmube it if you would like to experience it for yourself. Needless to say I was taken by complete surprise and stood laughing like an idiot right there in the street for all to see. It gave me the biggest smile of the day. Thank you, Miss Tree.

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