The evening is marked with birdsong, as tiny birds fly from tree to feeder for one last snack before settling into their roosts for the night. It becomes quieter, as dusk falls gently, and I begin to hear a cricket or two. As much as I love early mornings, these summer evenings are a comfort beyond compare. The setting sun has faded behind the trees, and nature pauses in that moment when the birds, chipmunks and squirrels find their way home and the crickets, bats, rabbits and deer begin their nighttime foraging.
How lovely it feels to sit here in solitude at the beginning of this new month. The past few months have been a study in contradictions. There have been moments of deep joy, such as the birth of my granddaughter, Emma, interspersed with troubles and stresses. We are struggling through the bankruptcy of our business; my husband was hospitalized in early June and is still not totally recovered. My children's lives have been filled with stress and turmoil. In the midst of this all, though, there have been beautiful celebrations to treasure -- a baby shower for my God-daughter at Brunswick Greens Country Club in a lovely room whose windows provide a sweeping view of the Berkshire Mountains, a 40th anniversary party for my in-laws at my son's beautiful new house, family gatherings for birthdays and Fathers' Day, and an overnight visit from a close friend. These are the moments that balance the bad times.
And now July is here again and brings with it the second anniversary of my sister's death. As I sit here tonight, I remember evenings on this porch with her -- sipping wine and laughing. Who knew our precious times together were numbered, and who knew my tears would still flow when I think of her.
Life is not easy nor predictable. We must savor the good times with those we love and work to create myriad memories to cherish and carry with us through the difficult times.
On an evening such as this, I feel at peace in the knowledge that the Lord who created this beautifully complicated natural world of ours also holds our souls in his gentle hands. Darkness is now enveloping my little porch and the silence is deepening -- broken only by the occasional bat squealing through the night sky. My soul is quieted and I am thankful for the blessing of this old porch and my peaceful gardens, and this lovely first day of July.