We traveled by train to Missouri in October. My parents joined us which made the trip so much more magical in the hearts of my children. It was a beautiful trip in many ways. I apologize for the delayed post but I had much to process and I wanted to be sure my words did justice to the amazing week we had.
The sun rises and nature awakens us with birds chirping and leaves rustling. We wake earlier than usual, much to our delight. The kids wipe the sleep out of their eyes and have stumbled out the back door, onto the patio and into the wide open field before I even have a moment to whisper, “Good morning.” This isn’t the life we lead back home. But this is the life I dream about.
Our afternoons are spent with new friends down at the creek, dipping nets into the cold spring water, chasing after crawdads, catching them only to release them shortly after. Little ones spend their time throwing rocks and watching the water splash into the air. Delighted giggles fill the air. The temperatures hover in the low 80s but no one complains of heat as they are all too busy splashing, exploring, playing.
Our evenings allow us the luxury to star gaze; to see the sky as He intended with thousands of stars glittering and twinkling before our eyes. There are no street lights, no city lights to interfere with our view. The boys help Dax build a fire where we all gather round. In the dark of night, my kids all look like wild Indians as they dance around the fire waving sticks in the air, dancing with hearts full of joy.
For an entire week we live as if this is our life. We make it the whole week without toys or electronic devices or TV. Their world has suddenly become ruled by sticks and rocks, bugs and critters, flowers and trees. For an entire week, I don’t worry if my kids let out Indian war whoops or holler at one another through the cool night air…there are no neighbors to disturb, no rules of civility to follow. My kids can be kids.
The view from the kitchen window is one of a dirt paved path, curving ever so slightly as it rounds the bend. Further along that path there is a fork in the road. The left leads us through the woods and on to the creek. The right leads toward town. A peek out from the front porch and there are woods to my right with a path beckoning us to follow. A cup of hot tea on the back patio and I can imagine spring here, birds filling the trees, stopping in for a quick bite at one of the many feeders.
There is peace here. Peace that isn’t found in the city. Peace that isn’t found in the suburbs. Peace that isn’t even found when you’re camping at a state park. You have to stretch a little to find this kind of peace.
This is not a vacation in the traditional sense. It’s not jam packed with sight-seeing trips or fancy dinners in fancy restaurants. It’s not maid service and mints on the pillow (although fortunately for us, we chose a beautiful property with attention to every little detail). It’s not a house on the beach or skiing in the mountains. But it’s peaceful. And it’s beautiful. And it’s more refreshing than a vacation jam packed with sight-seeing trips and fancy dinners in fancy restaurants could ever hope to be.
However, regardless of what we planned this to be, which initially was just a trip out of Texas, it has become more than just a trip for us. Somewhere along the way, it became a moment to appreciate what we didn’t even realize we were missing back home where we are buried beneath to-dos and rules of civility in the midst of suburban life. It’s the longing for a different way of life. It’s a chance to allow our kids the freedom to roam freely. The chance to explore and relax and just be.
I am so overwhelmingly thankful for this moment. Or rather this week of moments all built one on top of the other. This moment to be with my husband, my children and my parents. This moment to fill our memory buckets full of goodness, beauty and truth. This moment to appreciate the natural world. This moment to slow down and remember that a life rushed through is no life at all. This moment to stop and savor the riches of my own little world, this little family I hold near and dear. This moment to live deliberately.