Dusk, Lilies, Solitude


It is dusk, the evening of the day that I should have arrived in Wenatchee for a week of the most beautiful kind of solitude: just me, a good book, a bit of novel editing, some wine and cheese and pasta, the Bavarian village of Leavenworth three miles away, and the Wenatchee Valley with its apple orchards and towering ice cream colored cliffs (chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, even cherry).

But I am not in Wenatchee, and I feel lonely. Lonely for the friend who could not come, lonely for some quality time by myself–and how can you be lonely for yourself when you are yourself? But I am all the same, and lonely for the upcoming few days when the husband and stepson will go camping for some father/son time and I will still be here, alone in this house, this terribly mundane and claustrophobic world of mine.

The sprinkler is on in the backyard and the evening is so quiet, the street construction by our house done for the day but still keeping all traffic at a distance. The lilies I planted for LilianaLu, my sweet baby bunny who died three years ago this Thursday, are preparing to bloom for the first time since her death. (Until the buds this year, I thought I had accidentally bought some nice but rather plain ornamental grass in her memory.) The sky is darkening fast, but the beads of water on her flowers glint like jewels, so I dash back inside barefoot for the camera, too lazy to grab the tripod, and take a dozen blurry photos just to get one that looks pretty decent. There was a triple rainbow the day she died, the only triple rainbow I have ever seen.

Hello, world. You are vast and wide and beautiful, and I want to know all of you, travel your lands, swim in your seas, name all the stars in your skies. It is difficult to know that I never will, that I will probably never be able to wander more than a single day’s drive from home. But you are beautiful still, and vast no matter how limited my view.

So I will raise a glass to you tonight in the confines of my fenced-in backyard, just as I would have sipped wine on the porch of an old farmhouse in the Wenatchee Valley with the mountains at my back and an apple orchard below me. And someday it will come natural to me and I will no longer need a lily to remind me: even in my small, limited world there is beauty. God is still here, and He is good.

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