"We should be buried here" was something my wife said in one of those going-nowhere-in-particular conversations that spouses have in the rare moments when they are not absorbed in particular tasks or concerns.
This was a jaw dropper. Since coming here from our mutual birthplace - Los Angeles - almost five years ago, my wife has had the hardest adjustment to extremes of weather and nuances of culture. The kids have thrived in South Dakota, far more than we could have asked or imagined. Even the two cats embraced the move, although they split 50-50 over the addition of the dog. So my wife's embrace of South Dakota as home for the rest of our natural lives, and as our resting place on the way to eternity, moved my heart more than just about anything she's said since "Yes" to my proposal.
I think I caught a little glimpse of her motivation tonight. In the Summer, dusk doesn't start 'til about 9 p.m. (O, don't worry, in Winter it's deep darkness by 5). I took Lily the dog out for a short walk, and for whatever reason God cleared my mind and opened my senses to enjoy the show.
The Robins have these amazing twilight conclaves on our street. My wife calls them "Watchbirds," because of the cocky stance they take on lawns during nesting, when they show up to let us know that Spring is finally displacing Winter. Well, the Watchbird attitude was at its entertaining best as the dog and I passed by at dusk. The crowd of birds turned with one facing movement, regarding us with turned up beaks. Not alot of noise from these guys - they say more with hard looks. It was pretty clear we were on their part of the street, so we moved briskly and humbly along.
As the sun dipped under the horizon, it still cast beautiful colors on the bottoms of clouds high up in the blue sky. But trees and houses shaded lawns and shrubs, darkening their green toward black and making the perfect backdrop for Fireflies. These dots of amazingly bright light drifted up from every lawn and garden as we walked, like a launch of tiny, non-exploding fireworks.
My ears caught the first buzz of Cicadas in one neighbor's tree. Soon all our big, grown-in trees will have them, setting up their relentless, throbbing ZZZzzzZZZzzzZZZ that really bugs our older son. It is a sound of Summer heat and it quiets down as Autumn comes.
And of course there were insouciant cotton tail rabbits who seemed to know just where to sit and twitch their noses beyond Lily's leash range, although off-the-leash she's picked off a few and probably bettered their gene pool in this neighborhood.
All of these sights and sounds, along with the embrace of twilight's cooler air, came together in the last half block of our walk. A picture couldn't capture it, because so much of it was movement. And a video couldn't capture it, because the shades and colors were too rich a palate.
Growing up in L.A., my wife and I visited Disneyland many times. I can say with all conviction that the scene I walked in for just half-a-block tonight was more spectacular than the best fantasy ride environments concocted by Disney's "Imagineers."
Perhaps my wife senses that burial here would not be something sterile or inert, but return to a creation that is very much alive. Or maybe that's my thought, projected.
Probably time for another going-nowhere-in-particular conversation. Or a shared walk at dusk.