The late afternoon sun hangs just above the tops of the trees as I sit on the front porch. Pots and hanging baskets filled with Impatiens and petunias need watering, but I’m ignoring that for now. The air is just beginning to cool from the warmth of the afternoon. A short break, sitting quietly out on the porch, is just what I need before the evening chores, kid’s baths and bedtime rituals begin.
I close my eyes and let my head lie back against the chair. A few stolen moments of deep breathing will be as good or better than a nap. I can feel the buzz of the day’s busy-ness still in my head, a kind of hum of steady movement through a list too long. The sound of children playing far in the distance lends itself to a slowly spreading sense of calm. A car drives past on the next street over. Birds question each other with chirps and tweets. The neighbor’s dog tosses out a bark. I can feel myself slipping toward sleep. No worries if I do, it won’t last long.
I can hear the call inside the house somewhere, probably in a back bedroom. I keep my eyes closed, keep my breathing quiet and steady. Maybe the sound will find a different outlet. I inhale deeper, let the breath out slowly.
Even though I can hear laughter, it seems as if it’s simply part of a semi-waking, half-dozing dream. When the screen door beside me protests with its squeaking and rattling, I open my eyes just slightly. I do not, however, turn my head, or speak, or move.
My two little girls stand in the doorway, the tallest of the two holding the door open. They look at each other and cover their mouths to stifle their giggles. They whisper something back and forth to each other. The screen door creaks slowly shut, the latch just catching.
I wonder sleepily what the giggling means, and peer carefully through my lashes.
My two girls hunch down at the sidewalk beside the mailbox picking dandelions from the lawn. I could expect to find a bouquet in my lap any minute now. My youngest stands with her small scrunched cluster of yellow flowers and white puff-balls. She puts her face into the bouquet, but instead of inhaling their muzzley smell, she puffs her cheeks out and blows. She watches as her little handful of treasures explodes into small white umbrellas, tiny seed pod passengers dangling below.
dandelion_2008041638 (Photo credit: 邪恶的正太)
My older daughter quickly follows with a breath of air and a sort of magic wand wave of the bundle of white and yellow. White wisps float away. They both laugh and each quickly gathers another handful, this time ignoring the plain yellow dandelions. They snap only the stems of white fluff. Instead of blowing on the whole handful at once, they each take a turn blowing the seed pods free from one stem at a time. From a distance a passerby would think they were blowing bubbles from a plastic jar of soapy solution.
Empty stems fall on the sidewalk as they stoop to pick more. One sends her flower heads skyward while the other chases, jumping and flailing. Their laughter bubbles over, a refreshing sound to my ears, a nice respite from their usual bickering.
Time seems to slow to a stand-still, yet the sun drops lower in the western sky, now filtering through the topmost branches of distant trees. The angle of light at this time of day brightens colors, exaggerates whites, shows off every dust mote and hovering insect.
I watch my daughters as they do a sort of slow motion ballet. The two young girls gather more handfuls of glorious white weeds and send them heavenward. They create a blizzard of fluff filled with the sound of their delight. Surely they’ll tire of this game soon, I think to myself as I observe their leaps and laughter. Instead, they take a cluster in each hand and spin in a circle, creating a swirling breeze that catches and carries the ephemeral seeds in loops and eddies.
Sunlight wafts through the scene like an added sound of joy on the breeze. Each poof of white shimmers and dances. The halo of curly blond hair on my youngest daughter glows silver as she spins and dances and smiles. My older daughter’s long brown locks capture the light and create a golden aura as she twirls and leaps and laughs.
Peace settles like shimmering star-dust on my shoulders. The music of the moment fills the air and swirls through me as these two small angels dance in a fleeting vision.
It comes to me, clearer than any revelation. Heaven is here. Heaven is now.