At the end of a four-day visit from our daughter,
we sit on the deck on a Lord’s Day morning,
feeling the forming of this good Sunday.
Following a week of mostly rain and clouds,
we enjoy the lifting of the shroud of heaven:
sunlight filters through the high branches
of an eighty-year-old oak tree
while an intermittent northeast breeze
shimmers chills along the lines of my face.
It has been nearly thirty years
since we have had this much time with Christy—
days with no schedule,
no particular demands of any particular thing
that had to be done at any particular time.
She and Randa have gone for walks,
we have talked for hours,
and spent a little time together
out at the Cowley Lake Waterfall
and at Camp Horizon’s Inspiration Point,
skirting the edges of limestone ledges
along the fringe of the Flint Hills.
The view of miles of rolling fields,
the sandy bends of the Arkansas River,
and the murmuring sounds of gravity and water
may have not been all that we or our daughter needed,
but was certainly a call well heeded.
The sun rises higher and in the ebbing of the breeze
quickly warms whatever skin it can find.
We transition to that unwelcome ending of conversation,
leave the chairs sitting out on the deck.
I help Christy load her stuff into the SUV,
and we all hug our goodbyes.
She heads out on her five-hour drive,
a final wave to each other
caught beneath the branches of the Chinese elm,
sunlight and shadow filtering across the asphalt.