The summer is waning. The light is different now on sunny days here in Southeastern Wisconsin Wisconsin. It has the feel of September, even if it’s still August. The air has been cool and crisp. Absolutely lovely.
After dinner,, Tom and I have gotten in the pattern this summer of taking walks. Our youngest, Emily, rides ahead on her scooter or bike, and we talk a bit while we stroll the neighborhood. The walks aren’t always long. We have a short route and a longer route we take when so inclined.
I see us in our lengthening shadows, the two of us. I like holding Tom’s hand. It’s a feeling of being safe and loved. I tell Tom what’s going on in my world, and he tells me what’s on his mind. I save up small tidbits from the day to tell him about when he gets home. Nothing usually big, but something I know he’ll appreciate. We don’t usually talk about anything political. Things are so vile in our country that it pollutes our time together to even discuss it.
Our home has a small porch. We’ve made good use of it since moving here. It’s big enough for a couple of chairs, and we sit and watch the world go by after our walks. The scene is peaceful. We don’t always need to chat. Companionable silence is a beautiful thing where we can hear the wind chimes in the Magnolia tree and watch the birds.
Soon the leaves will be turning colors, and the air will have a nip in it. I will miss our times on the porch. We recently replaced our love seat at home with a new one. It is exceedingly comfortable. When evenings “draw in” as they used to say, we will sit there for our chats with a log on the fire. The weather changes, but the need to reconnect at the end of the day does not.
I can’t stand TV or even DVD movies. Tom and I have never been able to connect over that. My hearing troubles long ago shut down that kind of thing, even with good hearing aids. Articulation gets lost. One thing this does is give us time to just talk and be together without the intrusion of media. No distraction.
I know that marriage counselors have various strategies for couples who have relationship troubles. Many lose that feeling of connectedness with the various pressures exerted on families today, and they don’t even realize it is happening. Tom and I have raised (almost) six children together, and have been through many a difficult season in our lives Some years, it has felt like it was raining crises. But one thing I highly recommend is just sitting and talking. Listening and being listened to in kindness. Our loved ones all face battles, external and internal. Every one of us does. A lot of therapists would be put out of business if couples could learn the value of talking and listening, without judgment or impatience. It has a healing effect like no other.
The country and world increasingly look like a violent insane asylum. Whatever comes, I know that those evening walks with Tom will always be embedded in my heart. Feeling his warm hand holding mine, seeing our shadows together, watching our little girl, her legs growing longer all the time, riding ahead on her scooter.
These times can’t be recovered. We pass this way, we spend each day only once. Every hour is precious. Every walk.