I sat on the couch that faces the window, my favourite place to sit in the living room — with the big window and the big field that it faces.Today, on the second day of school, Luke and Madeline were walking to the bus on their own. 7:42 pick up to arrive at school hopefully by the 8:40 bell (that didn’t happen yesterday, but I’m hoping it was just a first day of school thing).
The two were making their way down the driveway in characteristic style. Luke was far ahead and Madeline was slowly meandering her way along. Then Kitty (the yard cat that came with the acreage) began to follow them. So Madeline stopped to pet Kitty. Many times. So many times that she hadn’t even made it halfway down the driveway yet. Of course by this time Luke isn’t doing much better because he’s already figured out by his two-thirds journey down the driveway that he’s too hot in his jacket and has stopped to remove it and put it in his bag.
There they stood. One stopped to pet the cat and one stooped over a backpack when little Olivia comes running out down the driveway in pyjamas and flip flops holding a yellow umbrella over her head (a yellow umbrella like the one from this post about Madeline’s harrowing first bus ride which you must go read if you didn’t back when she was in grade one). Now they are all walking together. Not too fast. Until I can tell that Olivia has heard the bus coming and starts sprinting to the end of the lane. The other two kids — the ones that actually have to get on the bus this morning (Olivia starts on Friday) — pick up their step only slightly. Marc and I are tempted to yell out the front window to “hurry up!” But they make it there just fine.
As I looked out the window, watching the bus pull away and seeing the clouds break above the fields, I say to Marc that it must be easy for people who live in the country to feel rich with so much land around them. (Okay, and the song “Don’t Fence Me In” was running through my head, too. “Oh give me land lots of land under starry skies above…”)
But that song was interrupted by the sight of Olivia walking back up the driveway calling Kitty to follow. Kitty doesn’t follow at first, but soon we see him running as fast as he can to catch up with her. They walk together. And it is Olivia, Kitty, and a yellow umbrella that we watch coming back to the house on this early morning as 1970s James Taylor starts singing “You’ve Got a Friend” on the cd player in the kitchen.
We couldn’t catch any of these images on a camera today. But these images are precious to me even just in my mind.