Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Photo Album

In a trick of light and color, the deep green of the pines covering the mountainside contrasting with the shining white of the billowing clouds shows up the irregular patch of sky between them in the deepest possible shade of blue, almost the color of new blue jeans.

Sitting at the picnic table with her brothers and sisters, Michelle is smiling, looking out the corner of her eye at Jon who is teasing her. A tendril of her brown hair is curled around the stem of the red flower she has tucked behind her ear.

The soft green grass beneath the aspen grove near us is knee deep and sprinkled with sweet smelling yellow wild flowers. Catherine wears a crown made of them on her head and the dappled sunshine under the trees picks out the bright yellow against her blonde hair as she darts in and out among the trees gathering a boquet for the table.

Aunt Donna and Aunt Nina laugh and chat with the little ones, helping make chicken salad sandwiches, passing out chips and cookies. They don't realize how the children flutter around them like moths around a flame. Love has a magnetic power.

Dan and Dominic, heads down, are deep in conversation as they walk back from the dumpster after cleaning up the picnic. Dominic is taller than his Dad now; his blonde head inches just over Dan's. They walk an arm's length from each other, but glance often at one another as they talk -- my mother's heart sees the mutual respect and affection. They're probably talking about the Rockies.

Dan is climbing the steep rocks of the wide main trail, our youngest child in the baby backpack on his back. He reaches back to grab hold of William's little sneakers and leans his head back to say something to him. William laughs and says something about being a chipmunk.

Gabriel finds a beautifully straight little walking stick with a curved hand-hold, just his size; he hops and skips with it over the roots and stones in the way. At one bend in the trail, he points excitedly with his stick to a perfect letter "A" formed in the velvety green moss on the side of a boulder, then raises his walking stick above his head in victory. Woohoo! The letter "A"! If you are five years old you know this is the best find of the day!

The low places of the rabbit trail we've meandered onto are springy with bright green moss and shaded dim by a thick grove of aspens. The trunks of fallen trees crisscross our path as we climb up onto the hillside toward the sunlight again. The sun-filtered path here is strewn with lichen-covered boulders and landscaped with thousands of wild strawberry plants that sparkle with little white flowers in the shade at our feet.

Jon, who's been trail blazing at the front of the family, stops to hold up a sapling that is blocking the way. Every one of us stoops to pass underneath as Jon, tall and strong, plays pillar for us.

Dominic points out the abundance of yellow flowers poking up through the grasses all around him as he explains the eye-spy game he's starting for the little ones. Each child has a certain colored flower he or she has to look for along the path. Nobody gets yellow to hunt because the woods are crowded with golden banner and yellow arnica.

Anna's looking for blue flowers and is having a hard time finding anything pure blue (not purple) until she sees a lone bluebell hiding in the deep grass; Gabriel has found several of his white flowers as Queen Anne's lace and white yarrow are scattered about; Michelle has found some purple larkspur; and Cathy has had no trouble finding mushrooms -- at one point, we even stumble into a fairy ring!

Anna lags behind, as she leans over a spray of white phlox to add to the little boquet she's collecting in her hand. We are close to a streamlet of the Roaring Fork river and a breeze rises from over the wildly tumbling water, brushing her bangs back from her forehead. I tell her she needs to hurry along; she can't pick every flower in the forest, and she looks up at me and smiles a sweet, smile. She knows she can't, of course.

Using the tip of an old rusted hatchet she found at an abandoned campsite, Michelle stands on a boulder trying to carve something into a towering aspen along the trail. She looks so tall and slender, like a young aspen tree herself. She furrows her brow in concentration as she leans into the tree. We're ahead of her on the trail and can't see what she's carving.

Six of my ten children tramp down the last leg of the trail to the campground where our car is parked. Walking sticks swishing and swinging in the brush and pounding the ground around them, they laugh and chatter. Anna picks one last flower for Mommy to put behind her ear as Gabe retrieves Lester, the stuffed monkey, that Mommy's been holding. Jon, who is taking a turn carrying William in the backpack trots a little too quickly down the hill; Dominic passes him up, running headlong, and Michelle hurries to catch up. My husband takes my hand and we stroll after them.

*I left my camera behind today and was really bummed about it at first. Dan said he thought he'd be a wealthy man if he could charge me a quarter for every time I said, "I wish I had my camera." But in retrospect, I think it was not such a bad thing not to have it. I used my eyes and employed my memory differently because I didn't have my camera. Still, next time we go hiking, I'm going to be sure I have it with me!


MightyMom said...

how precious!!

even better than pictures!!!!!!

GrandmaK said...

This was a stroke of genius!! What better pictures that those painted with words!!! When the "pictures" fade the words will remain! Thank you! Cathy

Sara said...

Those are lovely snapshots!

Blessings each day said...

And you are thinking, why can't marcy just comment like everyone else...where DO all those questions come from (and now, horror of horrors she ended a sentence in a preposition!).

Okay, comment first...just loved the multiple descriptions and think it would be fun to put photos with descriptions like these, in the future.

How did you remember all of this...did you take notes or are you just THAT good or D. all of the above??? One way or another...very impressive!

blessings and hugs,


Lisa said...

Marcy ~ I LOVE your comments; are you kidding? &:O) Actually, I know it's kinda strange, but I'm really, really visual and have a particularly good visual memory. (I can match a color at the fabric store to a swatch I forgot at home perfectly almost every time) As I was going along without my camera I was taking mental snapshots every time I said "Dang! I wish I had my camera!" And these are the ones I remembered best.

But, let me tell ya. I have no mental ability whatsoever for some things. Numbers, for instance. And I'm terrible with names, too.

GrandmaK said...

Please stop by as I have something for you! Cathy

diana said...

what a beautiful post. i could picture everything. not only were your snapshots lovely, but each scene sounded like a little piece of heaven. how blessed you must have felt.

Sarah said...

Better than pictures. This was perfect.

Linda Higgins said...

I absolutely loved your post...the snapshots were picture perfect! It was like reading a novel, of Little House on the Prarie! LOVED IT!

Aubrey said...

What a beautiful post! I really enjoyed reading your words! These are truly the best snapshots!