The backyard fence is turning the sunshine into slices of amber, the air is cool and damp, and two Mallard ducks paddle contentedly on the pool. I can smell fresh earth on the breeze, and I know that, beneath the mulch, the garlic is sending up little spears. Yesterday I rambled with the granddaughter in a stroller the size of a Buick and discovered a shady trail running along a creek beneath towering elms, maples, and white pines. Nothing is in leaf yet, but the path wasn't muddy and there was the promise of green glory to come this spring. I must remember this place and come again, when the foliage will be so thick you won't be able to see the houses up the hill. If I can escape to such a place now and then, I will be better able to bear living in the noisy, cramped suburb. We wandered for over an hour and met two friendly sheepdogs and touched tree trunks (both smooth and rough) and noticed squirrels and listened to rivulets of melting snow and just had a relaxing time, and Granddaughter fell asleep just as we came home. I parked the stroller in the front hallway and let her continue to snooze peacefully, undisturbed. A day spent doing admittedly very little, and last night we made pizza and watched The Imitation Game -- brilliantly done but heart-breaking.
This morning I rose early to pack lunches -- most of the crew is at the Toronto Indoor Highland Games today, where Hubby and some of his students are competing -- and threw together some walnut baklava for dessert tonight. I lay on the couch in my golden living room and read a Susanna Kearsley book (delicious suspense and Roman history tangled together) and ate a chocolate bunny for breakfast (which I will no doubt regret later). Son Number Two is at work at the bakery -- they'll be busy this morning -- and Son Number Three will wake at noon just in time to watch LDS General Conference with me on the Internet. You can't ask for a better start to the day. Would that all Saturdays were like this. And still another day off tomorrow, Easter Sunday, and more Conference stretching happily before me.
Easter means we get to sing the hymns I love the best, about rising and hope and salvation. I wish we sang those ones every Sunday, but maybe they would not be as special if we did. I try to be mindful of Christ's role in my life every day, but Easter lets us pause and think about it more deeply. I especially like Conference weekends, which happen twice a year. Living here, I don't get a lot of infusion of Mormon input, and to have eight hours of instruction, revelation, and encouragement beamed in from Salt Lake City is wonderfully uplifting, to say nothing of the joy of listening to the great organ and watching the camera pan the vast audience -- so many Mormons in one place! For two brief days I feel like part of the bigger congregation again. I can almost feel the mountains around me, and I am once again in my mom and dad's house, lying on the family room couch, washed over with the warm, familiar voices of the apostles on the TV, while Dad whittles bars of soap into clever shapes and Mom knits in her chair. Conference is definitely one of the best memories of my childhood. Nowadays I have to watch it hunched over the computer with squeaky speakers -- no TV broadcasts up here -- but it's still a fantastic experience. I come away from it refreshed and energized and ready to tackle another six months of isolation.
While I miss being in Utah, surrounded by family and fellow church members, there is much to admire about living here too. And golden, peaceful weekends such as this remind me of that. I whine too much and need to stop more often to remember how lucky I am.