On Patios and Parenting

One evening last week I went out to the patio to start the grill. It had been a dazzling day, hot and blue with a stormy interruption in the late afternoon. Now the evening lay quietly in my backyard, clear and hushed. In the distance, crickets chirruped and cicadas droned. A waning golden light brushed the trees against the fence. Green leaves ripped from their stems along with a few early fall browns mottled the patio table, were stuck in the grill knobs, and generally created a feeling of tattered negligence.

The detritus of the summer, and of many summers past, lay scattered around the yard. The table in the corner held a few citronella candles burned down to a small glob, a Frisbee, a couple of gardening tools (far too unused this summer!), a tennis ball, a pair of muddy shoes. Farther out in the corners of the yard, the swings waited, the sandbox lay in shadows, and old Pete, the bouncy horse, tilted at a dangerous angle against the fence.

The air was fresh and lovely after the rain, and I stood a while, gazing at this secret garden, both grateful and reluctant. A blur of moments had led to this one, and I tried to be awake enough to receive it and let it go at the same time.

About K. Mulhern

Kathleen Mulhern teaches courses in world history, European history, and history of Christianity. She has taught at Denver Seminary, Colorado School of Mines, and Regis University. She particularly focuses on the historical roots of the political, economic, religious, and cultural systems that have contributed to contemporary society.