Suddenly, I am alone. The girls are behind searching for rocks along the river, and Gerry is resting with his eyes closed at the car. I am struck by the silence and the peace of this place and stop to breathe prayer. For a moment, all that is, is here and now.
I hold a stone my daughter gave me in my hand. There’s a special little thing about it that she pointed out when she gave it to me. It initiated a short conversation about natural gifts, and I thought about a little piece of twig I have in my office. My granddaughter gave it to me when she was three years old. Sometimes I pick it up and think back the moment she handed it to me. Maybe this stone will serve, in a similar way, as a marker of an afternoon when we three went into nature to escape the madness of the world.
I lift my phone and capture an image to mark the slice of quiet time.
“Listen,” I say to my daughter when she catches up to me.
She stops, closes her eyes, and takes in the sound of silence that punctuates water sounds of the river we have just come from.