Saturday, April 4, 2009

Going Under

I keep seeing her there under the water, just near the surface. Her arms flailed and her mouth was agape, but her eyes were the most striking. Their usually mischievous twinkle was replaced by sheer terror and panic. My sweet girl was fighting for just that moment.

Over and over I told them not to run on the dock. My son, 7, and daughter, age 2, would run back to shore, grab a handful of rocks and then run back to the dock to toss the rocks in. Ignoring my protests, again and again they ran back and forth while I sat and tried to untangle Ben’s fishing wire. And then I heard the splash.
I immediately knew exactly what had happened.

In a second I was on my feet and there she was, under the surface. My nine years of lifeguarding experience kicked in to gear. Quickly assessing the situation, I realized that I couldn’t just reach her, I would have to jump. In a flash, I gently jumped in behind her and scooped her up under her arms, my feet sinking in the goopy mud and rocks making it hard to keep both her and my own head above the water. I spun her around and plopped her sitting on the edge of the dock. Then I finally took a breath.

Oh, sweet girl. It could have been so much worse. I am so thankful to God that it wasn’t.

We stripped her down out of her wet clothes; Dada offered her his shirt, long sleeved and blue. But she refused to put the sleeves on, instead baring her shoulders to the spring-warm sun. Her curls dripped still from the mud brown water, and she sucked her thumb, intensely trying to self-soothe.

By the time we started our picnic, she was over it. She laughed and chowed-down with her usual gusto. But I’ll never forget that moment. Her face, so close to tragedy, will always remind me of how precious life is.

A Trip to Lake Cumberland, KY

For spring break my family and I went on a trip to Lake Cumberland, Kentucky. We stayed in a secluded cottage in the hills, far away from our normal routine. As with any trip ours was filled with adventures, and over the next few days, I’ll be writing about them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Seeing Stars

Really. We saw stars last night. My family and I are on vacation deep in the hills surrounding Lake Cumberland, Kentucky, and when we got back to the cottage after grabbing dinner, we were stunned when we saw the sky. I can’t remember the last time that I saw such a bright natural glow shining from up there. My son, who just recently has taken up an interest in the stars, couldn’t believe the sky looked exactly like the constellation poster that hangs above his bed. Orion with his three starred belt was larger than life as he hunted the great bear, and Cassiopeia shone regally in her throne. The constellations hovered so low over the towering trees that I felt I could just reach up and poke my finger on their shiny points.

Even more amazing, though, was the beautiful darkness. With the wind whistling through the pine trees, spring peepers chirping from down in the creek, and blackness closing in on us, the stars showed us the vastness of the universe and all that was beyond.

It’s been so long since I had been surrounded by such darkness. It was both chilling and exciting at the same time. Immediately my mind set to wondering what sorts of creatures I couldn’t see lurking behind the trees, and a lovely thrill of goose bumps went up my arms and neck. Part of me wanted to run inside and slam the door against the unknown, while the other part of me wanted to throw caution to the wind and run out into the woods. Of course, my cowardly side won that battle.

While I’ll be happy to get back to my comfortable bed at home, getting away from our lovely suburban life once in a while is such a gift. We get to experience the true beauty of nature, to breathe it in and to get away from the pollution of noise and light and go-go-go