This morning I woke up early to a beautiful sunrise. It was the promise of a beautiful day.
My first task was a date with the ironing board. My ramblin' man was going out of town on business and my job was to prepare his clothes.
That done, I wandered into the living room where he had already lit the fire.
I sip my coffee while I wait to say goodbye. I look out the window at the rising sun.
There are certain times of day here when shadows appear to come to life. It's when the sun is low, when the rays skitter through the undergrowth. Your eyes play tricks on you, and your mind can conjure up all sorts of imaginations. Shapes shift, shadows pounce, and you find it hard to distinguish reality from illusion.
My senses are on high alert as I step out onto the deck. The sharp morning air brings me the scent of awakening forest, damp with yesterday's rain. I scan the undergrowth, the edges, looking for movement. Is that a deer? No, just an old stump. What is that crouching by the fence line? My heart races and adrenaline surges into my fingertips. It is only a shadow.
I see a dew drop catch the light and turn a brilliant red, flashing in the sunshine. I call these Fairy Lights, only seen at certain times of year, spring and fall, when the sun rays are low. One little drop will form a perfect prism. I have seen red, blue and green, flashing so brilliant, you can believe they have a light from within.
Have you ever seen one?
My ramblin' man is ready to go. I hate saying goodbye. He leaves me at the door with a kiss. I watch from the kitchen window as he waves his hand at me all the way up the long driveway.
My time stretches out before me.
I am acutely aware of the fact that he will be many miles away.
But as the sun rises higher in the sky and illuminates the shadows once again, these thoughts dissipate for now.
I won't be alone. I have my little guardian. And he really needs a bath. He rolled in ashes from some out door burning we did last weekend. His face is all smutty. His back is all grimy. He looks so silly that I can't get angry. But I cover the ashes with a grate until I can clean them up.
It will be a warm and sunny day and when I am done washing my little friend, we will sit on the deck together; he drying in the sun, I writing a letter to my Dear Aunt Bette, my Mother's younger sister, who just turned 74, and who has been my pen pal for longer than I can remember.
Much too soon the sun gets low once more, turning the hills to gold.
And streaking the sky with color. Once more, shadows come alive. It is time to nestle in, to sweep the hearth and light the fire, and try to keep imagination from going wild.
I will leave you with the ending quote from one of my favorite television series, 'In Plain Sight'.
"There's a reason we outgrow Fairy Tales.
Let's face it - Happily Ever After is a crock, a con - just a shell game for the sucker on the street.
They're just pretty words, the empty bookend to Once Upon a Time.
But our lives aren't determined by some story book - star crossed destiny, determined by what we're told is meant to be.
Our lives are determined by dumb luck, the actions we take, and the courage we summon at our moments of truth.
Unlike Fairy Tales, real life doesn't come with 'The End' in gilded cursive on the very last page. Happily Ever After, for most of us is really just the beginning.
There's a million ever afters in everybody's lives, because every time you think you've reached the finish line....
The gun goes off again."