–I need the light on to keep my eyes warm. (Caleb-3)—
–I need the light on to go to sleep because I can’t see. (Hannah-3)—
Early one morning I notice a light in the Weyland wheat field next to Rabbit Lane. The soft circle of lantern light bobs around over the newly-sprouted wheat, magically as if without a master, seemingly unattached to a farmer. The night sky begins to lighten, and I can see the dim outlines of a man checking the sprinkler heads on a wheel line.
Ron starts his big John Deere early, headlights blaring, before I can see its trademark green and yellow. The tractor pulls behind a homemade harrow: creosoted rail beams loosely chained together with railroad spikes pounded through. The harrow tears at the rooted wheat chaff, spewing up dust that creeps over Rabbit Lane like a heavy, brown fog. Continue reading
I stopped to watch the pulsing airport beacon–my desert lighthouse–as I walked in the snow today on Rabbit Lane. White. Green. White. Green. “See that beacon?” I asked Hannah (8), whose gloved hand held mine while we gazed. “It’s like a lighthouse showing the way for ships in trouble to make for shore. Long before Hannah was born, I gazed out the window with Erin, then 5, as the old beacon bulbs swept slow arcs around the sky, lighting up the clouded underbelly of the sky. I imagined sailing ships rocking precariously amidst tumultuous waves, the sailors shouting commands and wondering how to obtain the shore in one piece. I also imagined their frightened families at home, wondering if they would ever see their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons again. With this troubled image in mind, I wrote this one-verse song about these sailors, nearly lost in the storms, coming home at last. (Read more about this beacon in Chapter 4: Desert Lighthouse on the Rabbit Lane: Memoir page of this blog.)
–Only small people seek to make other people feel small.–
Our first night in the country house, the children all slept in mom’s and dad’s room. We offered this arrangement until they felt comfortable sleeping in their own rooms. One night several weeks after moving to her own room, Erin (5) couldn’t sleep.
“Daddy,” Erin called in a loud whisper.
“What?” I moaned groggily after a moment.
“The lightning is keeping me awake.”
“What lightning?” I yawned. “I don’t hear any lightning.”
“No—look—it’s flashing right now, without thunder or rain,” she persisted.
I pushed myself up onto an elbow with a groan. Continue reading