Diamonds on the Dust Heap

It was the pumpkin hour. The hour when hungry tired souls converge in our kitchen at the end of long day like a pack of vultures circling for prey in a hot barren desert. The hour when children caw for snacks and screens for their tired restless minds. The hour after work when partners reach for the wet blanket of the half written hymn of Twitter. The hour when I would signal the end of another day of the pandemic with a glass of wine and the feed of Instagram. ‘One glass’, I reassured myself. One glass of wine to not climb out of my skin. One glass to signal the ending of another day. One, just one. One glass did not turn into two, three or four. One glass didn’t turn into a bottle. It stayed just one. Just one weed to keep an eye on growing amongst our flowers. One can be a lonely number.

This particular pumpkin hour arrived after a relentless winter on a sunny seemingly good April day. Instead of reaching for one glass of wine, I reached for my walking shoes in a desperate attempt to not explode into a million pieces in our kitchen. I walked out our front door and out of our village on a black ribbon of a quiet country road surrounded by a sea of lush green fields. My cadence was slowed by recent knee surgery and the kindness of Spring’s wayside flowers. A mile up the road on my aimless walk three birds of prey circled above the field where a flock of new born lambs frolicked. Lambs as white against the lush green grass as the cotton ball clouds floating in the expansive blue sky above. One of the lambs had slipped through the wooden gate. She trotted along the fence line on fresh unsteady legs, bleating to her mother who was on the other side of the fence. Her bleating was desperate and sweet. The lamb was beyond the safety of her enclosure and was exposed to an endless expanse of open fields and the three birds of prey eyeing her from above. After taking in the scene I walked to the nearest house and knocked on the front door. The artist who opened the door promptly rang the farmer down the lane. The lamb was put back on the right side of the fence. Safe to wander on with her flock.

I walked home to the same scene I had left behind an hour before. I could have been staring at my phone numbing out with ‘just one glass’ instead I found a lamb. The pumpkin hour still arrives like clockwork most evenings, no matter the season, but now I have the blue sky, the lush green grass and the fluffy white lamb folded up inside me. I saved the lamb and the lamb saved me. Sometimes it isn’t the big moments that change us. Sometimes the seismic shift within us is as quiet as a blade of grass growing, as unassuming as an aimless walk, as blue as an azure sky, as as green as the emerald grass or as white as a lamb in need. Happy Friday from our home to yours.

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