Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Is This Heaven?

When I was growing up, my mother always made sure that Labor Day was no fun at all.

It was a day off, and her five children insisted that it was a holiday. Not so, she said. "It is Labor Day, so we labor," she told us firmly. We cleaned the garage, or washed windows, or scrubbed the basement or whatever she could imagine that would keep us busy and tired enough that we didn't squabble with our siblings.

My mother was very wise.

For this Labor Day, though, Husband and I wanted to take advantage of our status as Faux Senior Citizens and visit my favorite Iowa in-laws. S&K (Husband's brother and his wife) have retired to a beautiful house that's near their oldest daughter's family. Don't try to straighten out that confusing syntax, just be aware that their beautiful house is in the country and we had not visited for way too many years.

As late as Friday at noon, though, my crushing deadlines were still making me crazy. I wasn't sure I wanted to get on the road, or if I just wanted to crawl into bed and try to fight off the virus that was making me sick as well as tired. But I have traveled enough in the past few months that my carry-on bag practically walks out the door by itself so I followed it to Pearl and off we went.

Do you see what I would have missed if I had followed my first instinct?

S&K's house sits at an angle, and the room where they spend most of their time is essentially one large window looking out on the northwest half of the farm. I sat in a white rocking chair in that room for two days, rocking idly and looking out those windows. This part of the world has had unusually abundant rain this summer, and what I saw could have been ordered up by a movie producer wanting to wanting to portray an unrealistically perfect farm vista. I watched the horses and chickens on the other side of the glass, chatting idly with Husband and my in-laws as we watched storm clouds build up in the west.

Husband checked the progress of the storm on his computer, and S. went to shelter the horses before the downpour began. You can barely see him in today's picture, a tiny white dot leading the pony named Peanut Butter into the barn.

Then we watched the rain and played Spades as the lightning flashed outside.

Is this heaven?

No, it's Iowa.

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