Around the same time every evening, Sammi and I venture outside where I stand on the concrete divider under our tree while he wanders the yard, sniffing at everything until he finally finds the perfect place in the grass to pee. Sometimes this process takes a minute; sometimes it takes ten, but it's usually one of my favorites times of the day. It's quiet outside at night and puts me in the mindset to calm down and prepare for the end of the day.
Tonight, as I balanced on the concrete and looked up through the branches of our tree, I realized that I couldn't see the sky. Just a few weeks ago, it seems, I could see all the way up into the night sky as the stars winked through the barren branches. But all of a sudden, our tree is full of leaves - large, green, five-fingered leaves that wave gently in the night breeze and somehow, so quickly I realize, seasons have passed.
We have been in our house now for more than a full cycle of seasons. The tree was full and then empty; full then empty; and now it is full again.
When we first moved in about a year and a half ago, life was a whirlwind. Chris and I were both working full-time, painting rooms over long-weekends with the help of friends and making lists of things we wanted to do to the inside, outside, yard, garage, etc. I don't really remember what we did with our time but I remember weekends full of scheduled events where we were always busy.
But lately, life has slowed down a bit for me. My job became a part-time position that required less of an investment of my emotional-self and I've been forced to slow down in a way I've never slowed down before. For more than ten years, I've been consumed by some combination of full-time school, part-time school, full-time work, part-time work... You get the picture. "Slowing down" meant a quick vacation to somewhere cheap after which I usually arrived home needing a rest just as much as I did before I left!
But these last ten months have been different. For the first time, I've had time to putter and wander; time to stop and look around, take a walk, pull the dandelions, feed the roses, sit in the grass, and look up at the sky. We're actually tackling some of those projects we listed a year ago and we're putting them together, bit by bit, weekend by weekend. I feel like we're home more and because of that, this place is more of a home.
Inside and out, this home has slowly become ours. It crept up on us and appeared to me as I stood waiting for the dog to do his nightly thing.
I can smell the citrus giving off a light scent of new blossoms.
Little birds gather in the birdbath.
Our roses, that you couldn't even find when we first moved in, look better now that they did a year ago, blooming in yellows and reds, full of new buds.
The hydrangea spreads its broad leaves and will burst out light blues and pinks soon, battling for space with the fuchsia.
And our tree is full again.