I stood at the window in the shadowy bedroom; the window was rectangle of golden light punched out of the darkened room. All the green outside had been burnished into orange and gold, the colors shimmering in the wind. The days are tilting down into darkness so quickly now.
For a moment, I felt as if all life was outside the window, shaking itself out in the fleeting light, like the leaves skittering across the washed-out blue sky, but I was imprisoned in the dim room, painted in shadow and cloying warmth while the last of the day faded out.
I was holding Meri, a heavy warmth curled into my neck, leaning against my chest. She was breathing slow and steady but not yet asleep. I had to be in the room so she would sleep and then I had to be in the house when she woke and then I would have to be in the room for her to sleep and the day would pass away like that, and the next day the same.
For some reason, my mind went forward one year or two- five years, ten. In that time, the window would have completely ceased to be a symbol of imprisonment and would instead be a warm beacon, a light in memory for a time so brief and so precious that I can even now feel it slipping away each day.
Each day, I wake up with a slightly different baby- it is like watching the slow work of an invisible sculptor as she grows and gains weight and perception and range of expression and understanding, and I find myself delighted to know her all over again.
Next year at this time, she'll be eighteen months- toddling around and babbling, getting into things constantly and not wanting to nap. It doesn't do to count forward too far in this way, because it's already going too fast.
"Oh my daughter!" I exclaim sometimes, in joy when she wakes. "Oh my beloved daughter, how I love you! How delighted I am to love you, to know you, to have you in my life.
And that is just how I feel about you, God said to me, at just one such moment, deep in my spirit where I hear His loving and familiar voice.
Today I stood at the same window and saw how the dying underbrush had left the pine strewn ground bare before the light; the whole slope, usually hidden and overlooked by pine branches, was bronzed and sun warmed.
For some reason, this view: the softness of the pine branches, the golden ground, the yellow pine of our unpainted fence and the sunlight that was tangled and glistening on every piece of it, was transformed into something perfectly beautiful, as if I had never seen it before and would never see it again in just that way.
I can't explain these moments, but I felt suddenly the weight of my own brief, small life here on this earth. The beauty of this life filled me with a joy that was inarticulate. This beauty was not apart from the darkness that I've lived through and the dreams that died away- this beauty had more substance than that and was caught in every part of who I am and what I've lived through, transforming it into something so brilliant that I have no name for it, except that it is a part of me and a part of the greater Life that sustains me, that created me, that calls me by name.
It was as if I threw up my arms in joyful abandon before the golden light; it was as if the cool wind that was blowing through the open window was also blowing right through me, the breath of life in the cool of the day, the fire of life that burns down deep beyond words.
"Oh my soul!" I said to Him. "Oh my soul magnifies the Lord! Oh, I love You!"
His answer was not words; it was an assurance that echoed through me with such intimate and loving authority. I came from Him and I will return to Him and I am always sustained by His presence; by His light do I see light.