A new year
By Christine Tailer
We sat on the rock. I could feel the coolness through my jeans.
The clear water washed over my rubber boots and I could feel its chill ripple against my toes.
The crystal blue sky overhead reflected in the still pool just past our rock. The sun shone down and warmed our faces and we could not possibly have been any happier.
“Again, Nana, again!” she exclaimed.
I reached down into the cold water and picked up a small rock. I handed it to her.
She held it high over her head. Water drops fell onto her head. She looked up at me and smiled knowingly. We did not care.
We were already quite wet and covered with clean creek mud.
She pulled her arm back and tossed the rock. It landed in the water, right at our feet.
More water splashed up on us. She threw up both arms. “Good shot!” We laughed.
I looked down in the water at the gathering pile of rocks at our feet, easily within arms reach. I leaned down to get one for her to throw again.
“No, Nana. I need a new one,” and of course I obliged.
Several tosses later I explained to her that I simply could not reach any “new” rocks.
“That is ‘OK,’ Nana. We can go now.”
We stood up, carefully balancing on our sitting rock in the middle of the water. She held her arms up to me.
I picked her up and stepped out into the clear creek, keeping special watch where I stepped. My precious cargo held tight.
Papaw greeted us back at the shore. She held tight onto my hand and reached up to Papaw, taking his big hand in hers.
We headed back up the road toward the cabin.
“No, Nana. No, Papaw. This way.”
We headed out across the field. As we came to little culverts, she asked to fly, and we counted down “Three, two, one, fly”, and we flew her between us, over the little runs of water.
“Higher, Nana. Higher Papaw,” and of course we fly lifted her higher.
We sat in the middle of the pasture and the little horses came up to investigate.
We gathered the chicken eggs repeatedly, and fed the chickens almost hourly.
We said “hello” to the goats, rabbits, and pigeons whenever we passed by and made many special trips just to visit.
She told us that white ice cream was her favorite, so after dinner we lit a huge fire in the fire circle, and pulled our chairs close, and ate ice cream. With ice cream gone and sticky fingers stuffed into small pockets, she snuggled into my lap.
We tilted our heads back and looked up at the stars.
“Like diamonds in the sky,” she told us. “Yes,” we agreed. The fire fairies danced up into the night.
“A plane, lights flashing, flew far overhead, “taking people home” she explained to us.
The fire settled down into red embers. Papaw raked the coals together, and we carried our chairs back up to the cabin, but before we settled down for the night, she danced about the cabin in a long white night gown, like a beautiful fairy princess, our son’s child, our granddaughter.
I tucked her into bed smiling, a new year was dawning, and this beautiful child was soon fast asleep.
Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.