I stand by my chicken coop in the gently drifting evening snow, listening to my children squeal with laughter and delight as they run through the snowy darkness. At the top of the hill, I briefly see my husband’s silhouette stacking wood, more and more wood.
In two days building supplies will be delivered to update his woodworking shop. Today it snowed. I didn’t expect it to ‘really’ snow, or accumulate until well into the night. The weather had other plans. The weather thought it would be fun to cover the world with wet, packable, slippery snow accumulating on roads and cars as the work day drew to a close.
We still had the last, small pile of wood on the far edge of the driveway to stack, somewhere. In October and November, we stacked as much seasoned wood as we could, into our pallet made wood crib. The remainder was pushed off to the part of the driveway we don’t use for parking or playing.
Now, as the (late) dinner hour approaches, and animals need tending, and the children begin to run wild, my husband is finishing the job he set out to do, not just hours ago, but weeks and months ago: clearing the driveway of all the wood and straggling summer paraphernalia. He has meant to work on this project after work, Saturday afternoon, next weekend, or after we get the kids to bed. Something always came up, or we otherwise changed the plan. Now with this heavy snow falling and piling up quickly, the plow man will be here soon. The driveway needs to be plowable: cleared of wood pieces, sand buckets, bicycles, and lumber supplies.
I paused from helping stack the wood to finish my first evening chore and have tucked the chickens into their cozy little coop. Their curtain is drawn and their food and water are refilled for the night, and ready for the morning. A glimmer of light sneaks out the edge of the door and from around the curtain. The world around me is quiet, full, peaceful, vibrant and yet fleeting. We work, and toil, and try, but still more squeezes out the edges of our life. More chores, more piles of things, more things we must do, more and more. I cannot hold it all. I cannot do it all.
The children’s laughter pulls me back to the moment. Dinner must be made, I should help him move the wood, laundry needs to be washed for tomorrow’s after school activities, the cat and bunnies still need feeding up in the house. Here, now, this is where I must focus and keep trying. I must give it my best, try my hardest, juggle all the needs of the family. The children’s sheer joy at snow falling reminds me, though, that it does not all have to be hard, grueling and exhausting. Although I struggle to do it all, I need to also see the joy in the moment. I need to let some slip around the corners and out into the world. I need to let that go, not aim for perfection. Instead I must aim for love and peace.
As I trudge through the deepening snow, I look up and see the bright light shining from the house. The love I put into my family and our life is spreading forth into the world and shining as a beacon bringing me back…home.